For parents who have been seasoned drivers for quite some time, the idea of teaching a teen to drive may seem like a tall task. Between teaching new drivers about the rules of the road, the meaning of road signs, and actually polishing their physical skills behind the wheel, the process certainly seems overwhelming at first glance. To aid in this new and exciting time in a teen’s life, we’ve compiled a guide to teaching good driving habits that will inspire confidence in parents and new drivers as they embark on their first rides behind the wheel.
Act as a Role Model
Teaching good driving habits doesn’t necessarily start the day that a teen receives their driver’s permit. Instead, it begins with the idea of being a good role model as a parent when you’re behind the wheel. When thinking about whether you’re achieving this goal, be honest with yourself. Ask questions like…
- Do I use apps while I’m driving?
- Do I answer calls while I’m on the road or check my email at a red light?
The Huffington Post published an article last year highlighting the fact that while many parents believe they’re a good driver role model for their kids, the opposite is true. They highlighted a study conducted in 2016 that revealed that 50 percent of parents have knowingly texted their teen while they were driving. Additionally, 55 percent of parent respondents noted that they use apps while driving, despite the fact that a third of those surveyed noted their teen had asked them to stop doing so. Finally, 62 percent of parents admitted to using their phone to check calls and texts while driving and 75 percent of teens surveyed reported that their parents doing so.
Truly committing to being a good role model behind the wheel is something that takes consistency and it requires the ability to put all distractions aside while driving. It also means that, as a parent, you do not call or text your teen driver while you know they’re on the road unless it’s an emergency. These admirable behaviors are something your teen will surely notice, and it will make them more likely to emulate the behavior as they drive.
Teaching your teen to drive requires patience, commitment, and a positive attitude. Remember that this is a new and probably nerve-wracking venture for them, and it’s also one that they are excited about. Follow the below tips for providing them with a smooth and useful education to ensure solid driving skills:
- Start in a big, empty parking lot the first few times your teen is behind the wheel. Slowly introduce regular roads, then moving to progressively harder roads and highways.
- Practice driving with them in a range of weather and traffic situations so they have a diverse range of skills.
- Avoid having hefty conversations or bringing up sensitive topics while your teen is practicing driving. They should be primarily focused on the road and sharpening their skills.
- Have a calm and positive attitude and avoid being overly critical of their driving. Give feedback with a positive spin, even when critiquing, so that they do not get discouraged in their skills.
As mentioned, teaching your teen the mechanics of driving a car can be an intimidating task. While it’s great to get in the car with your teen and get them the practice that they need to become a competent and confident driver, that doesn’t mean that’s all the education they need before they pass their driver’s test, though. Be sure to pair your practice and teaching with them with a classroom style course on the rules of the road and street signs. You may also consider hiring a professional driving instructor to do road training with your teen. Keep in mind, this may be helpful to ease the nerves of your teen – and you – as they practice their skills behind the wheel.
How Technology Can Help
Besides being an effective role model and being stringent about driver education pave the pathway to a strong and confident teen driver, but the icing on the cake is utilizing technology to help solidify skills and keep your new driver safe. For instance, there are many smartphone apps that can be installed on a teen’s device to prohibit them from using their smartphones while behind the wheel and to automatically silence calls and messages that come through while a car is in motion.
Another great way to utilize technology to keep teens safe while behind the wheel is to take advantage of TeenDrive’s technology. Focus by TeenDrive gives parents the ability to more closely monitor their teen’s driving habits more closely and restrict what they’re able to do while they’re behind the wheel. For instance, it gives parents the freedom to block messages and calls from their teen’s phone while driving, although it allows safe driving apps as well as emergency calls.
Getting started with Focus by TeenDrive is easy and quick – it’s as simple as signing up, downloading the app where applicable, and then placing a beacon in a teen’s car. Not only that, but this easy-to-use program is also affordable, making it a great option for parents to aid in instilling safe driving habits in teens.
Teaching a new driver takes an abundance of effort and commitment to ensure sharp skills and confidence behind the wheel. Use these tips and tricks to simplify the process and you’ll be on your way to having a skilled new driver in no time.