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The First 4 Steps to Take When Teaching Your Teen How to Drive


Practical advice on an important rite of passage for teens

Some of the things that tell us our kids are growing up are the popular milestones. Your child’s first steps, first words, first day of school and when they hit the teen years, their first driving lesson and first car are all major moments for you and your child.

Once a teen turns 15, they can get their permit and start logging driving hours, something many teens are eager to do. Teaching a teen how to drive can be exciting but usually also very nerve wracking. So, how do you begin? Try these 4 steps, which will build a foundation of basic driving skills that can be expanded on as your teen anticipates his or her 16th birthday and a driver’s license.

1.Begin in Parking Lots

Before taking to the open road, large, empty parking lots are great places to begin driving lessons. It allows a new driver to get comfortable with the vehicle and learn how much pressure is needed for the gas and brake pedals, without the added stress of traffic. You can even set up scenarios or a track to help your teen learn basic driving skills.

2.Get the Newest Driving Manual

Get the newest driving manual to help your teen ace the written portion of the driving test. Although you may think you know all of the rules of the road, some rules may have changed or you may have forgotten them. Did you know that it is actually illegal to turn on your washer fluid while driving?

Once the basic knowledge is tested and mastered, the hands-on driving becomes easier and more relevant.

3.Teach the Importance of Visibility

Once your driving lessons hit the road, one of the most important things to emphasize to any young driver is the importance of visibility. Teaching them the fundamental concept that if he or she can’t see those around them, they can’t anticipate when to make quick corrections is a driving 101 must. Learning to constantly check one’s blind spot and to not drive in other’s blind spots takes a lot of practice, so learning this early is essential.

4. Focus

Unfortunately, there are lots of technological distractions in vehicles these days. From the radio to GPS to your cell phone, teaching focus is a key element for all young drivers. Firstly, when teaching a beginner driver, it’s best to keep all distractions to a minimum like the radio and of course, all phones should be put away. The US Department of Transportation notes that the use of cell phones while driving plays a role in 1.6 million auto crashes each year, causing 500,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths. Teaching new drivers to put away their phone when they get into the car and to put their phone on vibrate, silent or use an app that blocks your phone’s notifications while driving, is a crucial driving lesson. You can read about several of these apps here.

Driving with your teen can be one of your most cherished memories and is one of the most anticipated milestones that parents look forward to. Enjoy the experience and time together!

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