These days driver’s education courses through public schools generally don’t offer enough experience to allow your teen to drive solo after completing one. Riding around with mom and dad and observing their techniques is a great way for teens to learn. Keep this in mind when your cursing the goofball that cut you off. If you think your calm enough to handle the task of teaching your teenager to drive, here are some other tips to help make it a more pleasant experience for both of you.
1. Let your teenager decide when they are ready to learn. Don’t press this issue with a teenager who isn’t ready. Their nerves can affect their ability to learn effectively. Don’t worry, when they’re ready they will drive you nuts until you teach them.
2. Plan the drive before you leave and discuss it with your teenager. If the decision of where to practice is already made, it will help avoid conflict in the car which can lead to tension.
3. Try not to yell. Of course if he’s heading towards a tree you’re not going to be able to help it, but if he’s simply going a little to fast, gently remind him of the speed limit and as long as he complies, drop the issue.
4. Keep home life distractions to a minimum. During a lesson is not the time to discuss cousin Betty’s unplanned pregnancy. Keep conversations about driving and the laws around it. This will ensure your teen remains focused on the task at hand.
5. Remember to praise when he does well. Confidence will go a long way when your teen is finally driving on his own. A timid driver who is unsure of his ability can be jerky in movements and more likely to overcompensate situations. Keep in mind though that too much confidence can be just as damaging. The cocky driver who speeds is just as dangerous. It’s great to compliment skills, but remember to keep the things that can go wrong in the conversation too, such as speeding tickets and accidents.
Teaching your teen to drive can be one of the most nerve wracking experiences you will ever have. If your anxiety begins to affect the driving lessons, there is no shame in turning over the task to someone else. Another adult or a personal driving instructor will work fine and the relief between your and your child will make him a better driver in the long run. Forty hours of supervised driving is generally recommended, but the more your teen gets, the better. With the roughly 5,000 teens that are killed every year in automobile accidents, it’s important to do everything to make sure your teen is getting the best driving experience possible.