Dealing With a Teenager Who Is Learning To Drive

carolevenson

You’ve been dreading this day ever since you brought your son or daughter home from the hospital as a baby about 15 years ago: the day your teenager begs you to teach them to drive. It is definitely a milestone for the family, but it doesn’t have to be as horrible as you’ve imagined it all of these years. There’s no doubt that you have many worries about your teen driving, such as how much insurance is going to cost, how much another car will cost, and, of course, how you can make sure they will stay safe.

Insurance

The first step to relieve your anxiety is to check into how much your teen’s insurance will cost. It may not be as bad as you think, what with discounts and other offers. Check out the best insurance quotes online to get an idea of how much insuring a new driver will cost you.

Another Car

Having to share a car between two or three members of the family can end up causing a lot of problems for you all. It may be easier in the long run to give in and buy your child a car (or help them to buy one). Your child’s first car doesn’t have to be anything very fancy, but of course you want to make sure it’s safe. There are pros and cons to choosing a used car, just as there are pros and cons to buying a new one. Start the search (and the decision making) early, and let your child be a part of the process – it’s a great learning experience for them.

Start Slow

You don’t have to teach your child to drive by heading out on a cross country trip. Start in a deserted parking lot to give them a chance to get used to the basics of starting the car, putting it in gear, and braking. After that, just going around the block a few times is a good start, and a good way to build their confidence. Once they’ve got that down, move to more challenging tasks, such as driving on a busier street, parking, and eventually (after a lot of practice during ideal conditions) driving at night and in the rain. And perhaps most importantly, make sure you stay calm when they are behind the wheel!

Teach Them the Rules but Also Good Judgement

Of course your teen needs to learn your state’s laws, but there is something equally important that you should teach them: good judgement. They need to learn how to judge when it is safe to make a left turn, pull out into traffic from a parking lot, and how to merge safely on the freeway. A great opportunity for this is when they are sitting in the passenger seat as you drive. Talk to them as you are thinking about your next move driving (i.e., “I was going to speed up to get through that light, but then I realized I had time to stop.”).

Sign Them up for a Class

Driver’s education classes will help to reassure you that your son or daughter has learned all the rules they should. And, it takes some of the pressure off of parents because the teachers can take them out for practice.

Make the Rules Clear From the Beginning

Make sure your teen knows what will and won’t be tolerated when they are driving on their own, such as no cell phone use while they are behind the wheel. Some parents even prohibit friends in the car until their child gets more experience driving. Whatever the rules are, make sure they are clear.

Learning to drive is a milestone in your child’s life, but it doesn’t have to be a horrible experience for either one of you. Planning ahead and making sure they get lots of practice in a calm environment will go a long way towards both of you feeling good that your teen is finally driving.

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