Learning how to drive is an exciting rite of passage for teens, but often a worrisome time for parents. According to the CDC, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. But while driving may be a significant threat to your kid’s safety, there are ways to improve the safety of young motorists on the road. Here are proven strategies for parents teaching teenagers to drive safely:
1. Practice in different conditions
When teaching your kid to drive, you’ll want to ensure they gain experience driving in a variety of different conditions. If you live in the city, practice driving on rural country roads. Practice driving at varying times of day in as many other circumstances as possible. You should aim to gradually work up to more challenging conditions, such as driving in the rain or during rush hour.
2. Lead by example
Whatever driving tips you share with your teenager while teaching them to drive, be sure that you follow them yourself when you’re behind the wheel. Research shows that parents who exhibit risky driving behaviors like texting behind the wheel or aggressive driving foster the same behavior in their kids. Get in the habit of putting away your phone and driving defensively to set a good example.
3. Don’t overwhelm them
Ultimately, the best way to improve your teen’s safety as a driver is to have them practice and gain experience. When you’re acting as their copilot, try not to overload them with too much information or feedback. Keep things relatively simple until your teenager gains more confidence driving and try to save any criticisms until your driving session is over and your teen is under less stress.
4. Share your own experience
It can help to remind your teenager that every driver is a new driver at some point – including yourself. You can help your teen to better identify good and risky driving techniques by sharing stories of your own experience behind the wheel. Rather than telling your teen what to do, they can be more receptive to hearing you say, “This is what works for me.”
When it comes to teaching your teenager to drive, practice makes perfect. By applying these strategies, you can set up your teen for a lifetime of success behind the wheel.