I recently shared an article about how my oldest is no longer my baby. She is growing up so quickly. Soon, she will be driving. YIKES!
I was talking to my sister-in-law about how fast her girls were growing up and she shared that her oldest has her learner’s permit. I still remember that little girl not being able to say my name and calling me Aunt T-T. *SIGH*
I asked Carolyn how she and her husband felt about my niece driving and she said that it is scary and exciting at the same time. I then wanted to know if she had any tips which I could tuck away and save for when my “E” was ready to start driving.
She shared a few with me, and I also have one which I received from one of our readers to:
1. Start in a parking lot. Find an empty lot to use the first time that your child gets behind the wheel. There are less obstacles and they can just get a feel for the car.
They can learn basic safety at this time as well, including hands at 10 and 2, seat belts, braking, how to use the side and rear view mirrors and more.
2. Create a contract. One thing that many parents worry about is texting and cell phones interfering with driving. You may want to create a contract with your child where they agree that the phone will never be used in any way while driving and strict consequences when they do not listen.
You may also want to include details about where they can drive (not outside of city limits, etc), number of friends in the vehicle and other potential distractions.
Their safety is most important so if they do not like it, that is nothing you need to worry about. You are the parent first and their friend second. One day, they will thank you.
You can find a sample contract from the CDC HERE.
3. Use the app RoadReady. This is an awesome tool parents can use while teaching their teens to drive. While you’re in the passenger’s seat, you can use the app to enter data about driving conditions, drive time, mileage, and how your teen is doing. The app will store this and provide you with helpful tips make sure you cover all of the practice scenarios your teen needs to drive safely on the road. (Thanks Gabrielle)
4. Ask a friend or family member for help. If you are not confident or comfortable enough to help teach your child how to drive, then don’t. Perhaps your spouse or partner is a better fit. You may even know a friend who can do this. If you don’t know someone, then you may want to send your child to driving school.
There are some schools which still offer a driver’s education course, so you may look into that as an option as well (as it may be free, or cost much less).
Learning how to drive the right way is the most important thing, so make sure that they have the right person teaching them.
5. Teach them real life experiences. While getting the general feel for the car and driving in a parking lot is great, that is not real life. There are not other vehicles around, weather is usually not a factor and it is often daytime. You might look into a program such as Teen Driving Plan to help educate your teen about these conditions.
This program provides parents with additional tools and logs they can use to ensure that their teen is ready to take control of the road and test to get his or her license.
6. Make it a fun experience. I remember the very first time I climbed behind the wheel with our neighbor (my mom did not feel comfortable teaching me), he told me that he had to teach me “one of the important lessons about being able to drive”.
I remember paying very close attention to every word he said as I did not want to forget anything. He directed me through a series of turns and we ended up at our McDonald’s Drive Thru for a drink. He then told me that I needed to be aware and pay attention, but that I should not be overly stressed or scared to drive. I had to just relax a little.
You know what – it worked? And apparently very well since that is one of the only things I remember him actually teaching me! He made the experience fun for me and removed the stress that we both would be feeling at that time.
Try not to yell, curse or “freak out” when your teen is behind the wheel. You need to stay calm, cool and collected so that you both are less stressed and the experience is good for both of you.