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Teaching your teen to drive can be a stressful experience for both you and your teenager; however, it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of patience and a few good rules of thumb, you can help your teen learn to drive safely and cautiously in a relatively simple process.
Set a Good Example
The grim reality is that 37,133 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2017. As a parent, you do not want your child included in that statistic. The most important thing that you can do to help your teen learn to drive is to set a good example.
In all things, your children learn how to behave by watching you, and learning to drive is no different. Model safe driving habits so that they, too, will drive safely. This means no speeding, no tailgating, no road-rage, and no swerving into other lanes abruptly. Wear your seat belt. Use your turn signals at all times, and when you come to a yellow light, slow down and stop. Don’t speed up and try to rush through it before it changes to red.
Your child will be clueless about driving at first, so don’t take them to a busy interstate and tell them to get going. Instead, start off in a large, empty parking lot. Empty church and school parking lots are perfect for non-stressful driving practice. Once your teen is comfortable with operating the car in the parking lot, move on to slow-speed areas with which your child is familiar. Residential areas are excellent practice spots. Country back roads without a lot of traffic work well, too. Try to keep your teen in areas where they know the road and avoid busy city streets or unfamiliar areas.
Start in Daylight and Good Weather
Eventually, teens will have to learn to drive safely in many different types of weather, but driving at night or in the rain should never be attempted one of the first times a teen drives. Your teen is going to be nervous enough the first time they get behind the wheel. Don’t upset them more by forcing them to drive at night or in the middle of a snow or rainstorm.
Remember that common sense is key when you’re trying to help your teen learn to drive. Let them take their time, and don’t push them into anything before they are ready. Be a safe driver in order to teach a safe driver.
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