Driving is serious business. My oldest daughter Brianna first got her learners permit when she was 15 1/2 years old. She expected to have her license by 16. She’s nearly 17 and just passed her road test. Early on I set the expectation that she would not get her license until I felt she was ready to drive. She didn’t like that. But now she’s a better driver than 70% of the people on the road around here. Here are a few things that have made the learning process much easier for both of us.
- Start teaching them early. Start explaining traffic rules and signs well before they get behind the wheel for the first time. Don’t just loudly declare “That bonehead needs to learn to drive!” if someone cuts you off. Make sure to explain to your child exactly why that other driver is a moron, and how genius your own driving is.
- Start them off slow. Bring them to a quiet neighborhood or an empty parking lot so they can get a feel for steering, accelerating and braking. Do not pick an area with a BMW or Lexus anywhere in sight. That’s just asking for trouble.
- Make them do simple car maintenance. While this isn’t critical knowledge for them to get their license, you might as well get some free labor out of them for your trouble. I’ve made Brianna change the wipers, pump gas, and get an oil change.
- Resist the urge to scream in horror. When this happens, keep your wits about you. Nothing good will come out of you screaming like a little girl. Don’t embarrass yourself. Calmly, firmly and quickly give precise direction on what you need your child to do. “STOP!” works much better than “SWEET BABY ZEUS WITH A HAND GRENADE – A DEER!”
- Teach them about the dangers of texting and driving. To learn more about how to prevent texting and driving, visit www.itcanwait.com
For additional (and undoubtedly more useful) teen driving tips visit teendriving.com