Does your back-to-school list include a learner’s permit and driving school this year? While your teen is likely very excited, the whole learning-to-drive process can be pretty overwhelming for parents.
That being said, we’ve come up with several tips to consider as you make preparations to teach your child to drive.
1. Sign Up
This may seem like an obvious step, but if your child’s school doesn’t offer driver’s education classes, you may have to do a little research to decide where your teen will complete the book-learning portion of learning to drive. Don’t be afraid to ask around! Reach out to your friends, your child’s friends (and parents), neighbors, the PTA… and of course, be sure to check out online reviews.
2. Brush Up
Depending on your age, it’s likely been quite a few years since you took your driving test (written or practical). Now, that’s not to say that you’ve forgotten how to drive (like riding a bike, right?), but it’s never a bad idea to refamiliarize yourself with the basics of driving, local laws, etc. After all, children don’t tend to fall for the “because I said so” answer when they become teens, so you may as well have the real answers to driving questions up your sleeve, just in case!
3. Buckle Up
There will come a time when your teen has satisfied their requirements and you are no longer in the car with them. That being said, setting the best example possible while you can is essential. Check your mirrors. Buckle your seatbelt. Use your turn signal. Tell your child that those phone calls, texts, direct messages, and funny videos can wait, because the most important thing about driving is making sure that they are safe while doing so.
4. Plan Routes
Every child is different, and just because you (or one of your other children) were ready to leave the parking lot and head out onto the highway within the first 10 minutes of learning how to drive doesn’t mean your current student will feel the same way. Do your best to tune into your child’s mood. If they (or you) are particularly overwhelmed with the idea of highway driving, have some backroads in mind as an alternative. You might also try out some common routes that your teen would take to get to school, a friend’s house, work, or to run errands, just to add some familiarity to the task.
5. Update Your Insurance
As soon as your teen starts learning to drive, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance carrier. Depending on your policy, as a person authorized to operate your vehicle, your child may be covered. Also, make sure to discuss any necessary updates with your carrier so that you’re prepared when your teen passes their driving test and obtains their own license.
6. Stay Calm and Be Patient
Whether you have the kind of teen who tells you everything or the kind who tries to keep you out of everything, one thing is for certain: a car is a very small space. That being said, it’s pretty hard for your child not to tune into your mood while inhabiting that space, and you would do well to remember that if you’re freaking out, they’re probably going to freak out, too. If driving situations call for quick corrections, try your best to make them without yelling. Praise the things your teen is doing well and try to give reminders and suggestions in advance. For example, “Slow down a little, we’re headed toward a stop sign” is much more effective a couple hundred feet back than it is shouted at the top of your lungs as the vehicle blows through said stop sign.
Finally, contrary to popular belief, there is no rule that says your child must get their license exactly when they turn 16. In other words, there’s no rush. Encourage your teen to take a deep breath and allow themselves the space to learn at their own pace. Teach them that mistakes are all part of the learning process and the more they practice, the easier that process will be.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, this list helped to put your mind at ease about this daunting task. If not, there’s always yoga…
Wishing you and your teen the best of luck, and from all of us at Quick-Set Auto Glass, drive safely out there!