When it comes to teaching teens how to drive, parents are understandably concerned. MADD Canada reports that car crashes, often due to inexperience and immaturity, are the leading cause of death for teens. In addition to this, parents can feel frustrated if their teen resists taking direction and ignores common-sense safety precautions. Below explains four ways to help you teach your teen to drive while maintaining your sanity.
Before you let your teen behind the wheel, consider exposing them to the seriousness of car accidents and crashes, which can cause severe physical injury and psychological problems. For example, common injuries involve the head, neck, back and spinal cord. Car crash survivors may experience anxiety, phobias, depression and even PSTD. MADD Canada offers a tribute website that allows victims and survivors to share their moving stories of how impaired driving has impacted their life. Consider having your teen read a few stories and discuss them with you.
There are many things that can be done to prepare both yourself and your teen for driving together. First, understand your own strengths and weaknesses so you can be ready to clearly explain proper driving techniques to your teen. Avoid simply waiting until your teen is driving to lecture them on what they are doing right or wrong. Second, establish ground rules with clear expectations, limitations and consequences. If necessary, write up a driving contract that explains all the necessary details. Third, agree upon a set time and route for driving. Ideally you can drive in an unpopulated area with minimal traffic and enjoy the time together.
Trust Your Teen
One of the major reasons teens are anxious or drive poorly is because their jittery parent is sitting next to them gripping their seat. If your teen has completed a driving course or has limited driving experience, consider giving them the benefit of the doubt regarding their driving competency. Therefore, avoid micromanaging your teen’s driving techniques and critiquing insignificant errors. Avoid overreacting to near misses or potential accidents. Maintaining a relaxed and composed manner will give them the confidence in order to safely and naturally operate a vehicle.
Many teens are so thrilled to get behind the wheel that they only study enough to just pass their written exam. In addition to this, many teens experience high levels of anxiety and frustration during the written exam. Teenagers that fail their driver’s test will most likely be highly upset and this creates stress for everyone else in the family. However, this can be avoided through encouraging your teen to thoroughly study and take practice tests. For example, DrivingTest, a member of the Canada Safety Council, offers this website with online practice exams for cars, motorcycles and commercial drivers.
To summarize, parents can successfully teach their teen to drive through making them aware of the dangers of driving and proper preparation, such as establishing clear rules and consequences. Trusting your teen will give them the confidence to drive competently. Finally, encourage your teen to take practice exams so they can smoothly obtain their license.