You're still in the driver's seat!
As the parent of a new driver, you are their single biggest influence behind the wheel. Learning to drive is an exciting time for your teen, and it can be a great opportunity for you and your child to connect. But, teaching your child to drive can also be one of the most stressful things you'll ever do as a parent. There is nothing more important than the safety and security of your children.
To your teen, driving represents independence, but before they are out there alone you have this one opportunity to make sure they are comfortable behind the wheel and can identify the right decisions from the wrong ones. We hope we can help you make this a positive experience for both of you!
Now, let's get started…
Right now, your teen's driving is more influenced by you than anyone else. Take every opportunity you can to talk to your teen about the seriousness of driving, and the skills and attitudes that are necessary to guarantee their success. And don't forget — they are watching everything you do behind the wheel. Your job is to impart your experience and knowledge to your teen in a positive way so you can reinforce their positive driving habits. In the end, no matter how much coaching or education you give to your teen, they will eventually drive just like you!
Let's list a few things you can do:
- ROLE MODEL
Be a positive role model when you're behind the wheel.
- EDUCATE YOURSELF
When in doubt, do your research! We hope our site, among others, can help provide information on driving specifics when you find there's something you want clarified or explained.
- PARENTING VS. COACHING
Set aside time every week devoted to just teaching your teen to drive. Don't do it on the way to a place you both need to be, but devote the time to teaching, practical exercises, and lessons to make them identify the right driving decisions and behaviors.
Nothing beats hands-on experience, especially when it comes to driving. You won't get better if you don't go out there and drive… A LOT!
First things first — your teen has to feel completely comfortable in whatever vehicle they will be driving. Even if your teen has taken a Drivers' Ed course, the more time they have behind the wheel making correct decisions, the more confident they will be as they learn to drive. It's very important that they get the feel of the vehicle they will be using.
Before starting, have your teen adjust the mirrors, seat and steering wheel, and find all blind spots.
You may have multiple vehicles in your household. These cars likely have different features and controls. To a novice driver, having to learn the location and operation of multiple features can be a distraction in and of itself. We recommend that your teen practice driving on one car only. Once you are comfortable with your teen's performance driving that car, then you can begin to train them on the other vehicles in the household.