You aren’t sure where the time went, but your kids are 16, and they’re waving learner’s permit forms at you, waiting for your signature. The problem is, you’re not the best driver in the world. Maybe you’re nervous, maybe you have road rage or maybe you’re getting into an accident every other month. The point is, you don’t want to pass on your bad driving habits to your teens, but you do have to help them learn how to drive. While 15- to 24-year-old drivers make up only 13 percent of the driving population, they account for 30 percent of the crashes. Instead of contributing to the crash risk of your teens, learn a few ways to stop from passing on your bad driving habits.
Permit Your Children to Take Driver’s Ed Classes
Your kid’s high school most likely has a driver’s education class that gives both written and practical learning experiences with driving. These classes have a driving instructor who works with your teen in teaching them exactly what they should be doing on the road, how to pass their driving test, and other important skills. You can supplement this learning by relearning driving techniques and habits yourself, thus cutting down on the amount of bad habits you may pass on. If nothing else, stick with the way the instructor teaches your teens, instead of using your own style. A survey in South Australia revealed that professional automobile drivers felt that 47 percent of parents should not be teaching their children how to drive. If you truly can’t get over your own bad driving habits during instruction time, enroll your teens in a private driving lesson or defensive driving courses to expand their knowledge and practice time.
Use your driving problems as a learning experience for your children. If you have accidents on record, show your teens exactly how much more your State Farm car insurance policy or other policy costs before and after the driving incidents. You can’t go back into the past and prevent the problems from occurring, but you can impress upon your teens what the long term consequences are when you aren’t a safe driver.
Adjust Your Coaching Style
If you bite the bullet and decide you should be the one teaching your teens, understand that you need to be a good instructor to cut down on the stress. Your teen is learning to operate a motor vehicle for the first time, so making them anxious about learning is not a good way to go about it. Treat your teen with positive reinforcement instead of negative comments. Don’t talk down to your children, or they will start to tune out everything you have to say. Don’t lose your temper or raise your voice. Instead, provide constructive criticism on any issues that you observe, and wait for the car to be turned off and parked before bringing up any major complaints or conversation topics.