Try as we might, none of us are born with a safe-driving gene. Instead, safe driving has to be taught, and oftentimes, that job is left up to mom and dad. When your teen is ready to hit the road, you might to hit them with a few driving lessons first. Here are three concepts you need to know to safely and properly teach your teenager how to drive.
Practice, Practice, Practice
We’re all familiar with the term “practice makes perfect.” And while there’s no such thing as a perfect driver—not even you, mom—there are good drivers. The only way to become a good driver is with lots of practice. While your teen may be anxiously counting down the days until they can get in the driver’s seat, practice starts online and with a drivers education study book.
Make sure to provide your teen with these essential learning materials and look for creative ways to make the learning process engaging. In fact, you might to regularly:
- Ask what they’ve been learning
- Give them short quizzes
- Talk to them about any weird state laws
Once your teen has passed his or her first exam at the DMV to earn a learner’s permit, schedule a few times each week for you and your teen to get behind the wheel. This way, your teen can learn how to drive in real-world situations, with you by their side offering guidance—and maybe some course corrections, too.
Maintain the Car
There’s more to car ownership than just paying for a tank of gas. Driving can teach your teen greater responsibility, allowing him or her to take greater stock and ownership of their vehicle. Instead of changing the oil yourself, have your teen perform that task or encourage them to visit a local maintenance shop. And, if they have a job or earn an allowance, have your teen pay for the maintenance, too.
In addition to oil changes, regular maintenance like tire rotation and replacement is also important. Teach your teen how to test their tire treads by showing them the signs of wear and baldness.
Hop online and watch a quick tutorial on how to measure tire treads. It’s so easy — all you need is a penny. If you live in cold weather cities, always make sure your teen has the right tire accessories, including tire chains, he or she may need on the road.
Be Prepared for Any Accidents
Accidents can happen to anyone. For your teen, this can be a scary and unnerving time. And as a parent, it’s hard to imagine your child being in a car accident, as you’ll likely experience those same emotions. With that in mind, make sure your teens knows what to do in a car accident before you hand them the keys.
Have a chat with them about where to find important documents, like their vehicle registration and car insurance. Tell them to store this information in the glove compartment or another easy-to-find location. This way, if they’re in an accident, your teen will know where to locate these documents and be able to provide them to the right personnel.
Additionally, if your teen is involved in an accident, stress the importance of taking photos of any on-scene damage, including each vehicle that was involved.