It is an exciting time for teens to obtain that freedom of driving. Parents and guardians alike, however, face a difficult time not only letting go, but preparing their teen. Here are some helpful tips in preparing your first time driver.
Driving Know How
Driver’s education has moved away from school to companies. What would be daily instruction for weeks has evolved into a few drives with an instructor. To ensure your teen is ready, some extra time is necessary with instruction. This could be stressful, but in the long run, beneficial for their experience.
Besides acceleration and braking, there are areas that need practice. Turning is somewhat strange for first time drivers so it should be included each driving session with both left and right turns. Turning should also be with wide and tight turns, challenging them.
Once turning has been learned, changing lanes would be a next step. This is a perfect time to discuss blind spots and mirror usage.
Parking is easily practiced with a parking lot. This can begin with an empty parking lot and then progress to lots with other vehicles. Don’t forget the parallel parking! If there is no opportunity close for parallel parking, use a curb and some buckets to mimic the parking situation.
Be sure to have them drive during different weather conditions too, if given the chance.
There are other areas, such as passing and merging onto highways. Each time you are behind the wheel, make a mental note of your own experience to add to your teen’s driving practice.
Learning HOW to drive isn’t the only thing important for your teen to learn, they must also know how to fully operate the vehicle they will be using.
This is the time to pull out the owner’s manual to familiarize them with their car or truck. They should know how to find the areas in the manual.
Next, a tour around the vehicle is needed to locate and learn the functions. If your driver hasn’t driven in rain, make sure they know where to find and how to use the wipers. Your driver has hopefully practiced driving at night, so they should know about the headlights, including the bright setting, but do they know where the fuses are? All controls and gadgets should be discussed and practiced several times for familiarity.
No one wants to be stuck with a flat tire but a stranded teen is a scary thought. If your teen does have a spare in their vehicle, teach them to change it properly so they can return to the road and then to a repair shop.
Light maintenance is also a good idea to teach. Educate them about the fluids needed and why, including oil.
Insurance and Accidents
The scariest part about a first time driver might be the shock of insurance price. This could be a good teaching moment though. Discuss the insurance policy, terms, coverage and cost. Explain the process of claims and consequences of accidents and tickets.
And as much as we don’t want to think about it, accidents should be talked about with your teen. Instruct them what steps to take if involved in an accident. See our previous blog about those steps. Equip them with important phone numbers, such as a trusted tow service.
They say ‘practice makes perfect’ and ‘knowledge is power.’ This preparation will help your teen to become an educated and confident driver.