Since Alex just got his permit…I thought all the other parents of 15 year olds might find this as helpful as I do!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, preventable factors such as seat belt usage and speed are the most common causes of fatal accidents involving teenage drivers; in fact, only 54 percent of teens surveyed in 2011 said they regularly wore a seat belt. These facts should be known and understood by both parents and teens. As a parent, the time you spend teaching your child to drive is an opportunity to bond, but it’s also a chance to stress the dangers and responsibilities associated with the road. Here are a few ways to prepare your teen (and yourself) for their new venture as a licensed driver.
Getting the Permit
Make it a point to read the permit test study guides with your teen, then ask them random questions from the material whenever you get the chance. Talk about it while he or she is in the passenger’s seat so there is a visual representation to back up their studies. Also have your teen take practice tests beforehand. Driving-tests.org has permit practice tests on laws and regulations in every state.
Know When to Let the Learner Take the Lead
Encourage your kid to retain what they already know. If he misses something before you start moving, ask what he missed instead of telling him. When you stop at a four-way, ask who has the right of way. The Allstate Foundation encourages parents to praise their children on what they did correctly and also ask them to identify what they need to improve for the next drive.
Let the Lessons Take You Somewhere
Remember that being able to drive potentially means spending less time with you. Seize driving lessons as an opportunity to go somewhere together. Grab the keys, hand them over and say, "Take us out to a movie." Alternatively, make it a tradition to stop at a favorite bakery or coffee shop before, during or after lessons. It’ll forever be "the place we used to go when I was learning to drive" and may even follow suit as the place they take their own kids.
Best Practices for Practicing
Find great places to practice certain maneuvers. Go to empty parking lots to teach parking. Use somewhat narrow and very quiet roads to practice three-point turns. The narrowness of the road will force a proper maneuver in three steps. Head to wide, open places. Industrial parks after hours are excellent because they are set up like main roads but are dead after work. Let them back up for long distances to learn a steady reverse. If you live somewhere with inclement weather, it is especially important for the new driver to get comfortable handling such conditions. Go somewhere to practice habits like steering out of skids without hitting the brakes.
Be Safe Out There!