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The highly anticipated or dreaded moment has come. Your teen is ready to drive. Time to prepare yourself for one of the most important undertakings of your life. You want to get this right. What you teach your child will help you to put a better driver on the road. You’re looking out for everyone else who gets in the car with your son or daughter. Most importantly, you want to protect your teenager. Make sure you include the following list of driving safety tips when your lessons begin.
Review the Features of Your Vehicle
Before you hand your son or daughter the keys, take a look at all of your vehicle’s features. Point out where the gas and brake pedals are. Don’t forget to highlight the emergency brake. Review turn signals and how to turn on the high beams. Discuss the purpose of the gauges on the dashboard. Show your teen how to pump gas. Have your teen sit in the driver’s seat and look through the rearview mirror to ensure it is adjusted properly. Explain the purpose of the side mirrors. Once you’ve run through the basics, get in the passenger seat. Make sure you both buckle up. Get ready to begin your first road trip.
Don’t Let Your Teen be a Distracted Driver
When you and your son or daughter are driving, there should not be any distractions. Turn off the radio. Put cell phones away and make sure they are on vibrate. Lay down the law when it comes to texting and driving or even glancing at the phone when behind the wheel. If your teen doesn’t learn to put away the distractions, you will want to hire a Rochester car accident lawyer when there is an accident. This will likely be because your teen thought a message from a friend was more important than watching traffic.
Tell Your Teen to Start Small
Your son or daughter’s first impulse may be to hit the highway when you are cruising together. Stress the importance of being a comfortable and confident driver. Begin with quiet neighborhoods or country roads. Empty parking lots can give you the perfect location to work on turns, backing up, and parking. Work your way gradually toward more intense driving situations. Tell your teen you will be glad to take the wheel if your son or daughter feels like a congested traffic pattern is too much to handle. You’ll get there together.
Focus on a New Skill During Each Driving Session
Once you get started with driving lessons, target a driver’s must-have skills. You want your teen to be observant, scanning the road and the rearview mirror every time you get in the car. Emphasize the importance of paying attention to the speed limit. Teach your child how to coast to a stop, rather than slamming on the brakes. Using turn signals is a must. Teach your child about three-point turns and parallel parking. The more prepared your teen is, the more confidence he or she will gain.
Stress the Importance of Practice
Your teen is not going to be an expert driver overnight. Your son or daughter is going to need plenty of practice before it is time to get a license. Plan opportunities to drive with your teen as often as possible. Let your son or daughter run errands with you when you need to go to the store or the post office. Choose different times of day, such as early in the morning or at night, for driving sessions. Get your teenager on the road in the rain or snow. Find out what your state’s guidelines are for the number of hours recommended for practice before a road test. Talk to your teen’s guidance counselor or principal as well. The school may offer a driver’s education course. If you choose to pay for a private course, it will be worth the money. You can save on car insurance as a bonus.
Teaching a teenager to drive may be nerve-racking as a parent, but it can be a positive experience if you keep your cool. Remember to have patience. Yelling and screaming will only breed resentment. Stay calm and take your son or daughter out as often as you can. You’ll see improvements the more time your teenager is out on the road.