How to Help Your Teen Learn Safe Driving Habits
Learning how to drive and learning how to drive safely are two different things. Some teenagers have the desire to do the first item but are careless when it comes to the second. This leads parents to wonder how they can encourage their children to embrace safe driving techniques with so little on-road experience.
We’ll talk about some of the best ways to help your teen learn how to drive safely while also giving them the opportunity to enjoy the process. Is defensive driving worth it? These classes used to be taught in school, but it is now up to the parents to enroll their children.
How about the relationship between cellphones and the road? Alcohol and drugs can be a temptation for young people, and their decision-making surrounding the topic is often iffy. There’s only so much a parent can do, but smart teens will want to stay safe if their parents use the right motivational tactics and tips.
Lead by Example
Teaching your kids how to drive safely actually starts at an early age. Kids are like sponges. Even when you don’t think they are watching you behind the wheel, they absolutely are.
For example, you may always encourage your young children to put on their seat belts, but they won’t be motivated to if you don’t lead by example. Buckle up every time you drive and show your kids that you are doing so when you remind them to do the same.
Other behavior on the road is also a key to demonstrating safe driving. Try not to exhibit strong emotions or other angry personality traits when you are driving with children. They will think it is okay to do the same thing throughout their life.
When the time comes for teens to get their licenses, they will be conditioned for years to do what their parents did while driving. Telling them you were wrong about something you did while driving is not good enough. Show them that you have changed if you want them to, as well.
“Do as I say, not as I do” is a very poor parenting philosophy. Leading by example is your best bet to get positive driving skills to translate during the learning process.
Ensuring your teen doesn’t drink and drive is one of the toughest tasks for any parent. Kids go places with their friends, often to parties that have alcohol or other substances. Supervision is often shaky, and teens sometimes influence each other to do bad things.
Try to create an atmosphere during your teen’s childhood that shows alcohol is a dangerous substance if not consumed properly. You don’t need to eliminate it from your house, but show them that it has no place around a driver. This is another great way to show good behavior instead of just talking about it.
If you want to go the route of frightening your teen into not drinking, you can show the statistics demonstrating how often drunk driving kills teenage drivers. It may not work completely, but it will at least give them food for thought.
Many intelligent teenagers are more logical than the world thinks. Showing them the potential consequences of drinking or driving while high is better than letting them learn about it from the first-person perspective.
Enroll Teens in Defensive Driving
Defensive driving classes are not as common as they used to be. Most public schools had these classes decades ago, but the expensive nature of teaching driving led to their dissolution. Private driving school classes have taken up where public schools left off, and many parents should consider using this option.
Driving instructors have more advice and better first-hand knowledge of the road than most parents do. They will be able to instruct on things like parallel parking, avoiding road rage, and how to merge onto the freeway. Some of these skills are harder for non-accredited drivers to instruct.
Parents will like that you may also get an auto insurance discount if your child has taken defensive driving. Make sure you talk to your agent about this before enrolling your teen in a course.
Install Monitoring Devices
Phones have made learning how to drive harder and easier at the same time. They are the ultimate distraction for most teens. Young people constantly want to talk to their friends while driving, or even play video games and listen to music.
The only way you can make sure your teen isn’t using the phone while driving is to take it away, but this isn’t reasonable. Everyone needs a phone to communicate when they leave the house. Enter more technology into the equation, and you have a surprisingly successful result.
Many insurance companies have smart-ride devices to monitor driver behavior. Things like speed, braking, and the time of day that your teen is on the road will all be accessible to you through one of these programs. Once again, you could also get discounts on your insurance if the device proves your teen is driving safely.
Have Teens Drive the Family
Whether it’s a family trip to the beach or a basketball game on the weekend, young drivers can prove their skills behind the wheel during everyday activities with supervision.
This will lessen the blow when you inform your teen they can’t drive by themselves to parties or extracurricular events. Communicate with them how you will ease up on these restrictions if they can prove their driving skills to the family in everyday situations.
Driving is like starting any other new task in life. People need training, and they also need patience. Allowing teens to drive with their families allows them to get a feel for the road without being unsupervised. It’s like when a worker gets training at their new job. Employers see what workers can do and then give them more freedom afterward.
Every teen drives differently. See how your teen handles this new responsibility and give them rules based on their behavior. It will be a tough process for everyone, but a rewarding and safe one in the end.
About the Author: Shawn Laib writes and researches for the insurance comparison site, TheTruthAboutInsurance.com. He wants to help parents and teens learn how to handle the hurdles of driving.