Teaching your teen to drive can be nerve-wracking for parents. It seems like only yesterday you were teaching them to ride a bike without their training wheels, now they’re going to be in control of a vehicle? *Shudders*
For your teen, learning to drive is an exciting milestone, while some can be a little gung-ho about it, wanting to skip the minor details to get out in the open with their mates, others may feel anxious to get behind the wheels.
It’s important for parents to help teens develop a strong foundation of their driving skills and knowledge of the road to encourage them to be safe and sensible behind the wheel.
Here are our top tips for parents facing the daunting task of teaching their teens to drive.
Driving theory and education
Your teen might’ve passed their learners theory test; but some extra reading and studying the road rules will do them good. As much as it will annoy them, keep throwing road rule trivia questions at them to make sure it has thoroughly sunken in.
Before they get behind the wheels for the fun stuff, your learner should have a good understanding of the machine they’re in, how it works and its important safety features.
- Test and explain the indicators, lights, hazards and horn
- Adjust side and rear vision mirrors
- Show them how to fill up their car tank with petrol.
- Test the seat belts and explain where the airbags are and how they work
- Run them through the boot, how to change their spare, and how to inflate tyres
- Under the bonnet explain how to check and change their oil and water
- Test and explain how the wipers work and show them how to defog the windscreen
- Explain how to use vehicle features such as reverse cameras or bluetooth connections.
Give your child a crash course (pardon the pun) on the expenses driving incurs. Talk about insurance, registration and servicing costs, as well as repair costs if something breaks down or gets damaged.. This is a good time to explain how to look after their car and avoid these things wearing out prematurely.
Have them consider the cost of fuel,(a really important tip, especially with the fuel prices these days!). You should also make sure they know what to do if they are in an accident or if their windscreen chips or cracks while driving
Arrange professional lessons
Teenagers know everything, so parents are simply annoying them when we try to explain things they don’t know about. This can make teaching your teen to learn a skill as important as driving very frustrating. A stressed, angry or distracted young driver is a recipe for disaster, so take deep breaths and try to remain calm at all times, even when they’re arguing or not listening to you. Your teen might be more nervous than you realise.
If the budget allows, a great solution for this is to engage a professional driving teacher. Having a professional driving instructor always comes in handy, as it encourages beginners to learn in a professional manner. Professional driving teacher vehicles are fitted with brakes on the passenger side, so you have the peace of mind that the instructor can intervene at any time if needed.. Driving teachers can be costly, so if it’s all up to you, here’s what to do.
Begin practicing in wide open spaces
Start the driving journey without an obstacle in sight. An empty car park is a great spot for beginner drivers to practice starting and stopping, parking within the lines, reversing and going over speedbumps. They can build their skills and confidence without the worry of hazards or running into other cars
Once your teen is confident doing that, move on to a quiet suburban street with a low speed limit and few cars. When they’ve managed to successfully avoid parked cars and kids on bikes for a reasonable time, you can move onto streets with heavier traffic if they feel ready.
Lastly, allow them to practice on the highway at higher speeds – this is not for the faint-hearted so be sure they’re confident and ready before you venture into this territory.
Drive in all weather conditions
As your little driver is progressing and getting the hang of driving in perfect conditions, start taking them out in not-so-great weather. Your teen should get plenty of practice driving in the rain, while you teach them important safety measures like putting their lights on, gently pumping the brakes instead of slamming them on, slowing down to drive to the conditions, avoiding water over the road and keeping a safe distance from other vehicles.
When driving in the wet, explain to your teen the dangers of losing traction on the road and drifting or aquaplaning and what can be done to prevent it. You should also give them some tips on what to do, and how to react if it does happen to them.
Night driving practice is very important for your teen too. Give them lessons on what to do if they come across wildlife on the road; how to overtake trucks and other vehicles safely, and the correct use of their lights and high beams.
Driving in different weather and road conditions will allow your teen to use all the vehicle features and get a feel for how the road and their driving alters in different environments.
Technology and driving
Make sure your teen’s vehicle is fitted with a hands free system for their phone and/or they are very aware of the dangers of using a mobile phone when driving. Nag and harp on this for as long as you need to. Practice with driving technologies such as GPS and Google Map directions. Any technology that your teenager might employ while driving should be tested and learned under your supervision first. Ask your child what apps they plan on using, there’s probably some you’ve never heard of.
Take your time and get it right
Every child is different and will learn to drive at their own pace, don’t try to rush the process, make sure you’re 100% happy with their performance and confidence before moving on to the next stages. Remember to follow your own good advice too! You’re setting an example so no more speeding up through amber lights or lazy lane changes for you!
Patiently work with your teenager to build on their driving skill. The way you handle teaching your teen to drive can make a monumental difference to how they approach driving now, and in the future.
Don’t! Wrap them up in cotton wool and chauffeur them everywhere for the rest of your life. Oh, if only.
Best of luck!
Novus Auto Glass specialise in windscreen repair technology and strive to provide you with the best possible care for your car. Services include windscreen repair and replacement as well as restoration, polishing and windscreen glass cleaning and protection products. Arrange a quote online, or call us to see how we can help you on 13 22 34.