Take A Deep Breath: Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers

driving lessonsWatching a child sit behind the wheel of a car for the first time can be a parent’s proudest moment. However, parental instincts can also engage, turning at least some of that pride into fear. After all, your teen has no experience driving. What if an accident happens and your child gets hurt?

Though these fears are natural, they’re not exactly helpful while trying to instill confidence and new skills in a young driver. If you’re the parent of a young driver, try these tips to be a better guide, and to stay calm:

Be A Good Role Model

At any age, kids learn through observation. One of the best ways you can help your teen learn to drive is to simply be a safe driver. When riding in the car together, talk about what you’re doing and why. Mention when you use the turn signal, when you check mirrors, and how often you use your breaks. By simply explaining your actions, your teen’s drivers education can begin long before she comes of age!

Start With Small Trips

Once your teen has her permit, plan on starting practice with short driving trips. Travel only a few miles at a time, and choose areas that your teen knows well. Brief driving sessions will help you remain calm, and help your learner remain confident.

Short trips also encourage greater safety for both of you. In their first year on the road, teens are nearly 10 times more likely to be in a crash. With short lessons, you can ensure that they slowly build skills without risking safety. After each trip, talk about what went right and mention areas for improvement. Gradually increase the length of each trip, and try to comment less and less so that your child gets a feel for driving independently.

Plan to Practice Specific Skills

During your short driving expeditions, try to focus on practicing one skill at a time. This technique will help teenagers focus, and it will make their progress more noticeable. For example, try to emphasize parking, left-hand turns, and lane changing in separate driving lessons. These skills can be hard to master, so learning one at a time will keep your student from feeling overwhelmed.

Enroll Your Teen In Driving Lessons

Though parents make excellent driving instructors, enrolling your teen in a driving school can boost their driving confidence even more. Organized driving classes give teens helpful tips you may not even know yourself. In fact, Arizona laws require learners either complete a drivers education program or 30 hours of supervised driving to receive their graduated license. Driving lessons give students the chance to get on the more road in less time and with more knowledge.

If you’re the parent of a new driver, don’t panic. Follow these basic tips to be a good support figure for your teen, so that they can start their driving adventure with excitement and confidence.

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