Has your baby reached the age when he or she is ready to start driving?
How did this happen so fast?
Suddenly, here you are, trying to figure out how to teach this no-longer-little person how to command a vehicle. Like, wasn’t it just yesterday he was learning to walk?
But take a deep breath. You’ve got this.
Here are 6 lessons to teach your teenager about safe driving. After all, that’s the most important lesson.
1. Avoid texting while driving
Distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents worldwide. And if you can instill good driving habits in your teenager before they adopt bad ones, they’re up for a lifetime of good driving habits.
This one involves leading by example. This means that you must avoid answering texts while driving — every time.
It’s easier said than done, for sure. But it’s crucial that you practice what you preach. Even if you think you can handle a little distracted driving, remember that your kids are watching. And they’re inexperienced drivers.
2. Start slowly
Depending on your teen’s excitement level, she may want to get in the car and start driving right away. But that’s not really how driving instruction works. Your teenager should know that operating a vehicle is a major responsibility that is not to be taken lightly.
3. Practice defensive driving
With so many distracted drivers on the road, your teen will need to learn to drive defensively. It’s not enough to know that your teen has safe driving habits. You’re going to want your teenager to look out for other drivers. Defensive driving involves paying attention to the drivers around you. Your teen will have to get used to anticipating other drivers moves. This way, they’ll be ready to react at any moment.
4. When to ask for help
If you can manage to swing the expense, driving lessons are always worthwhile. Not every parent is going to be a great driving instructor. It’s unrealistic to expect that you’re going to have the patience and calm necessary to teach your child how to drive. If you’re nervous while your child is driving, pay for a lesson or two, so your child can learn from a professional (with a passenger-side break). It’s not necessary in every case, but it can save quite a bit of tension.
5. How to drive in poor conditions
Naturally, you’ll start by teaching your child to drive in good conditions. But once they have the basics down, it’s time to branch out and drive in less-than-desirable road conditions. Start by practicing in a light drizzle. Then, you can move on to driving in heavier rain, and then snow (if the weather in your area permits). You don’t want your child to face these conditions for the first time alone.
6. The importance of maintaining your vehicle
Car maintenance is an important part of car safety, so stress the importance of getting the car serviced at appropriate times. If your teen sees you slacking on things like oil changes or tire rotations, they’re likely to do the same. And these things can lead to breakdowns and unsafe driving conditions. So if you want them to be safe, teach them how to maintain a safe vehicle.
If you’re looking to pass down healthy habits, safe driving is a big one. Start with the six tips on this list to ensure your teen starts with a foundation of safe driving habits.
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