Three Basic Tips to Help Parents Give Better Practice to a Teen Driver
Driving requires sharp focus and the ability to quickly respond to dozens of ever-changing variables. If you’ve been doing it for years, you might take your ability for granted—but you will quickly remember just how complicated driving can be when it’s time to enroll your teen in driver’s education and help them practice. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that teens tend to be bigger risk-takers than adults. Still, it’s important to teach them good driving skills early so they build confidence and become more independent.
As a parent, there are many ways you can help and encourage your teen to be a better driver. Here are just a few:
Turn Off Cell Phones: When learning to drive, your teen should have minimal distractions. That means no music, radio, or cell phones, to name a few. It’s not enough to just have your phones out of reach, however, as alerts and ringtones can easily shift anyone’s focus. Even hands-free features aren’t safe for someone just starting out. For a productive practice session, both you and your teen should have your devices powered off or on silent.
Pull Over to Discuss Mistakes: Your teen will learn more if you discuss mistakes during the practice session—but not while they’re actually driving. If they make a mistake, have them pull over to a safe spot, and then discuss any errors calmly. Avoid critiquing their skills while they’re actually driving, as this will be distracting and possibly make your teen more tense.
Plan Your Route Beforehand: Your teen will be relying on you to be the navigator, for the most part. They’ll probably be nervous already, but they’ll be particularly tense if you plan your route on the fly, giving your child last-second directions or changing your mind about where to go. To make those first lessons calmer, driver’s ed professionals recommend planning your route ahead of time. Your teen will work their way up to more complicated situations eventually, but they need to get used to the road first.
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