For parents, there are few things as nerve-wracking as teaching your teen how to drive…and allowing them to do so on their own.
One thing that might help parents feel more comfortable with the process is researching effective tips and guidelines for preparing their new teenage drivers. Helping your child to familiarize themselves with the rules of the road and valuable safety tips is a great way to get them off on the right foot.
Let the Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze & John provide parents with the safety tips they need to keep their young ones safe on the road.
Driving Safety Tips for Parents
Before beginning the teaching process, it’s worth taking a look at these general safety and coaching tips that you can use with your teen driver.
When you and your child begin practicing, do so for only about 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Frequent, short lessons are more effective than infrequent long practices.
1. Plan Ahead
Before you take your teen out for their first driving lesson, be sure to do a little basic planning. You’ll want to let them know where they’ll be driving and what they’re going to do. It’s a good idea to let your child know ahead of time what skills you’ll be focusing on so that can be mentally prepared.
2. Let Your Child Take the Initiative
Remember, it’s your child who will be doing the driving once they have their license, so be sure to follow their lead when it comes to the speed at which you’re teaching them. When you think they might be ready to start learning, let them know, but the decision to begin should ultimately be theirs. It’s important not to push them into driving if they don’t feel ready.
3. Stay Constantly Aware
One of the hardest driving skills to master is constant, 360-degree awareness. This skill is definitely not something your teen has, so you will need to remain extra vigilant yourself the entire time your teen is behind the wheel.
4. Correct by Asking Questions
Instead of telling your teen what they’re doing wrong, you can ask them about the rule or lesson they’re missing. For instance, instead of telling your teen to slow down, ask them what the speed limit is.
5. Be a Good Coach
It’s important to stay calm and respectful when teaching your teen to drive. That is to say, don’t talk down to them. Be specific with your instructions and comments. Then, when your teen does well, always be sure to compliment and praise them so that they know they’re doing the right things.
6. Start Slow
Don’t push your teen into the deep end too soon. When you begin training, start in an empty parking lot where your teen can move around without worrying about other drivers. Then, once they feel comfortable, you can progress.
The same approach should be taken for every step of the learning process: start with something simple, then move to something more difficult once your child feels ready. This should also include driving during the day rather than at night when they first begin learning.
7. Give Directions with Care
Be sure to let your child know about any upcoming maneuvers with plenty of time in advance. Don’t simply ask them to turn when you reach a certain street, rather, let them know you will be turning a block or two away. For anything they’ve done as they should, let them know they did it correctly.
8. Teach by Example
To help your teen learn to drive safely, even when you’re not with them, be sure to always use safe driving practices yourself. If your child sees that you don’t follow the same rules that you’re teaching them, they’ll assume they also don’t need to follow those rules when you’re not with them.
Essential Driving Skills Your Teen Will Need
There are many aspects of operating a vehicle your child will need to know in order to both receive a license and also to ensure they’re safe on the road.
Some of these essential skills involve being familiar with parts of the vehicle, as well as the upkeep involved. When teaching your child to drive, you can use the following checklist as a rough outline of what skills you need to help cover:
Things About the Vehicle Your Teen Needs to Know
- Seatbelts and airbags
- Dashboard warnings
- Tire inflation, inspection
- Cleaning the car
- Checking fluids
- Safely turning and controlling the vehicle
- Backing up
- Staying focused, avoiding distractions
- Shifting gears
- Consistent signaling
Interacting with Other Drivers
- Maintaining a safe driving distance
- Defensive driving
- Switching lanes
- Interacting with intersections
- Making U-turns
- Making three-point turns
Key Parking Skills
- Regular, 90-degree parking
- Angled parking and parking spaces
- Parallel parking
- What to do in case of an accident
- Changing a flat tire
- Driving near downed power lines
- Driving in high-wind
Advanced Driving Skills
- Towing another vehicle
- Driving in snow or wet conditions (including emergency responses)
- Driving at night
- Driving on the freeway
What to Do If Your Teen Driver Is in an Accident
If you or your teen have been involved in a car accident, the dedicated Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze and Johns can help you seek compensation. We will work to make you and your family feel respected and cared for while fighting for your case.
If you need a Houston car accident attorney, don’t hesitate to contact Lapeze and Johns at (713) 766-0075.