Learning to drive is an exciting and terrifying thing to do. On one hand, a teen is gaining more freedom to get themselves everyone on their own. It is a step toward adulthood that symbolizes responsibility and ability. On the other hand, that responsibility to learn a vehicle, drive around other people, and know all the laws can be intimidating. If you are looking for ways to support and encourage your teen driver, here are some suggestions.
Help Them Drive More
The number one thing a new driver training program recommends is driving hours. Nothing will help a driver feel more comfortable and confident behind the wheel then getting experience. Most states require that drivers have a minimum number of hours driving before they can get a license, but a licensed driver is required to be in the passenger’s seat.
Being willing to supervise a new driver is also a great way to show your confidence in the teen’s abilities. Taking the time to drive, offer advice, and reinforce teachings makes a teen feel cared about. Help them be a part of the process by asking how they think the driving session went and if they have any questions. And always offer a lot of praise for things they do right.
Make Rules and Be Firm
Creating boundaries for kids is what helps them feel safe. Even though teens are stereotypically pushing the boundaries and testing their limits, knowing that those boundaries are there helps them feel safe too. Once a teen starts driving and being more independent, they should get a little more room to operate, but they still need those boundaries.
Make family rules that are clear and then enforce them. A great rule to start with is that there is no drinking and driving. Not only is alcohol dangerous for a developing brain, but it is even worse if that teen gets behind the wheel and crashes. This rule should be made with no exceptions.
When a teen knows that there are rules to follow for driving privileges, they will know what their parents prioritize. Make safety a priority to help protect not only your teen driver, but also others on the road.
The purpose of graduated licensing laws and permit rules are so a teen can be safer on the road. Parents and responsible adults can support and encourage teen drivers by teaching safe driving habits. Every new driver is supposed to learn how to drive responsibly from the adult licensed driver.
The delivery of giving advice to a teen driver needs to be straight forward, but kind. Rather than yelling and saying that a teen did something wrong, the teaching moment won’t be as beneficial as a better approach. Keep calm and explain why the way the teen executed a driving maneuver incorrectly or which law they didn’t obey. If needed, explain the reasons behind the law. For example, knowing why a school zone has a further reduced speed can help a new driver know they should drive slower because there are more pedestrians around and kids are unpredictable.
The best way to help your teen drive safely is to enroll them in a great driving program. Defensive driving courses help teach driving laws and safe operations. Combined with encouragement and support from home, teens can become responsible and capable drivers.