Gulp–is your teen ready to learn how to drive? Mixed emotions swirl inside you–can your teen really be this grown up already? Driving is a big responsibility, and while teens do have a higher rate of minor “fender bender” collisions, and are less likely to ensure everyone in the vehicle is wearing seatbelts, many teen auto accidents are preventable. Taking a proactive, hands-on approach to your teen’s driving education will go a long way towards helping them learn the rules of the road.
Be a Good Example
Teens, like all young people, take their cues from their parents’ example. If a parent is texting while driving, or rolling through stop signs without coming to a full stop, they’ll be more inclined to think these behaviors are acceptable. Studies show that teens are less likely to wear seatbelts than adults, and are less likely to enforce seat belt rules for other passengers. Don’t let your teen catch you without your seatbelt on, including for short neighborhood errands. Lay down a firm “seat belts all the time, every time” rule for your household. Do your best to model good behavior when your children are in the car–not only for safety’s sake, but for your teen’s driving education.
Many of the minor collisions teens get into are caused by distractibility. Emphasize at all times that road safety is the first priority when driving. Phone calls, texting, loud talking, and too much activity from other passengers in the vehicle can distract any driver.
Teaching Good Judgment
Learning how to drive involves practicing good judgment on the road. Many teen accidents are due to the “learning curve” of judging distances and hazards. Examples include underestimating the danger of road conditions, such as wet and icy surfaces, following another vehicle too closely, and driving too fast at night.
Even before your teen gets behind the wheel, have them “shadow” you for a few days as you drive. Try to drive in a variety of conditions, and talk them through what you’re doing. Pay special care to tell them how you exercise judgment in making turns across oncoming traffic, following other vehicles, and stopping well in advance of stop signs and changing traffic signals. Also point out school and construction zones as you drive, and what you’re doing to be especially careful in them.
Learning by Doing
Finally, the key to learning how to drive is…driving! Practice makes perfect, and the more practice a teen gets with a trusted adult, the better. When your teen is ready to sit in the driver’s seat, first have them familiarize themselves with the vehicle controls. Then have them adjust their mirrors and seat. It’s best to start practice driving in empty, wide open spaces, such as an empty baseball stadium or shopping mall parking lot. There will be few obstacles to navigate around (most likely street lamps and the occasional seagull or pigeon), but your teen can practice turning, parking, and shifting gears.
Before long, driving will become a regular habit for your teen as they gain more experience and familiarize themselves with various kinds of road conditions. Until then, being involved in their driver’s education will go a long way towards giving them the safety and confidence they need to get themselves from point A to B!
Located in Huntley, Illinois, Adams Collision Service is an award-winning business offering a variety of collision repair services. For more information, visit our website, or call (847) 961-5409. At Adams Collision Service, our customers are our #1 priority!