Becoming a responsible and safe driver starts with learning the rules of the road and gaining practical driving experience. Teen drivers can benefit from both formal driver’s education programs and guidance from parents or guardians. Here are some valuable tips for helping your teen learn to drive safely:
- Driver’s Education Classes: Enroll your teen in a certified driver training school or program in your area. These programs provide comprehensive instruction on basic driving rules, road hazards, and driving techniques. Formal education is an essential foundation for safe driving.
- Practice Behind the Wheel: While driver’s education classes provide valuable knowledge, practical experience is equally important. Encourage your teen to practice driving regularly. There’s no substitute for real-world experience, and exceeding the state’s minimum practice requirements is advisable.
- Eliminate Distractions: Emphasize the importance of avoiding distractions while driving, especially from mobile devices. Teach your teen that texting, using social media, or engaging in other distractions can lead to accidents and jeopardize their safety and the safety of others on the road.
- Parking Skills: Ensure that your teen practices parking in various situations, including angle parking, perpendicular parking, parallel parking, and parking on hills. Teach them to avoid parking in front of driveways, fire hydrants, intersections, crosswalks, and other restricted areas.
- Entering and Exiting Freeways: Help your teen practice entering and exiting freeways, which can be challenging for new drivers. This skill involves judging distance, speed, and traffic flow. Continue practicing until both you and your teen feel comfortable with freeway driving.
- Night Driving: Teach your teen how to navigate and drive safely at night. Nighttime driving presents unique challenges, such as glare from oncoming headlights and reduced visibility. Ensure that your teen is confident in handling these situations.
- Driving in Inclement Weather: Bad weather conditions like rain or snow can be challenging for drivers, especially inexperienced ones. Teach your teen how to handle skids, hydroplaning, and unpredictable weather-related driving scenarios.
- Use Roadside Assistance: Inform your teen about the availability of roadside assistance services. There are insurance companies that offer roadside assistance, which can provide emergency services if your teen encounters common road hazards or vehicle problems.
- Resources: Utilize various resources to support your teen’s driver education, including your state’s driver’s handbook and a family driving agreement. The family driving agreement can help establish clear expectations and guidelines for safe driving practices.
- Role as a Coach: Recognize your role as a driving coach for your teen. Your guidance, patience, and setting a positive example behind the wheel can significantly impact your teen’s driving behavior and safety.
Encourage your teen to continue learning and practicing safe driving habits, and consider the benefits of programs like the good student discount to reward responsible driving behavior. By actively participating in their driver education and providing ongoing support, you can help your teen become a confident and responsible driver.