Some parents love that their teens can drive. Now, the teens are able to ferry around siblings or grandparents, run to the grocery store, pick up pizza, and perform miscellaneous errands. Other parents hate the thought that their teens can drive and worry constantly about their safety. Many parents fall somewhere in between. Whichever camp you are in, there’s no doubt you want your teen to be as good a driver as possible.
9 Tips to Boost Teen Driving Skills
It can be a delicate balance to help your teens become better drivers while not criticizing them too much or breaking their spirit. You can start boosting their driving skills by modeling good behavior if you do not already.
1. Model Good Driving Behaviors
Children, even teens, learn by seeing and doing what their parents do. If teens see their parents drive and text, they take that as tacit approval that they can do the same. Ditto with other bad driving behaviors such as going without a seat belt, speeding, braking suddenly, and driving while drowsy.
2. Discuss With Your Kids What to Do if Police Officers Pull Them Over
Panic can make people act irrationally and out of character. Your teens may get flustered if they see sirens behind them. They may brake right in the middle of the road or try to evade police. All in all, police officers pull over more than 20 million drivers every year and more than 50,000 daily.
If your children are of a minority race, they could be even more at risk from panic and the police. Emphasize concepts such as trying to stay level-headed and that it is normal to feel nervous.
Caution your kids to not confess to anything even if they feel they have done something. They should not permit searches, either. Search rates for marijuana remain high in states such as Florida. A Florida ticket lawyer can help with speeding tickets and other traffic infractions, but your teens increase the odds of keeping their driving privileges by exercising their legal rights.
3. Limit the Number of Passengers
Passengers, especially a carful of loud, rowdy friends, serve as bad distractions for teen drivers. Limit your teen to one friend in the car at a time. Many states also limit passengers and time of day driving for learner and teen drivers, so follow these regulations and any others.
4. Give Your Teen Experience in Different Scenarios
Let your teen drive in sunny weather, at nighttime, in rain, in heavy traffic, and in many other scenarios. Do start with ideal conditions, and as your teen gains experience, work your way up to more challenges.
5. Ask Their Driving Instructors for Feedback
Solicit feedback from your teens’ driving teachers. What are the teens’ areas of strength and weakness? Work with your kids on areas of weakness while steering clear of blame, judgment, and criticism.
6. Have Someone Else Help if Your Time With the Teen Is Not Going Well
Sometimes, parents are not the ideal people to help their teens become better drivers. No shame if that applies to your situation. Maybe a trusted friend of yours or another family member could help. It is common for parent-teen instruction and learning styles to clash and doesn’t have to be anything personal.
7. Go Past the Minimum Requirements
Your teen likely needs to meet various minimum requirements for driving time and night hours. View these requirements as a starting place rather than an ending place. More driving hours mean more experience and better drivers.
8. Clarify Your Expectations Ahead of Time
Don’t wait until your teen is driving or has an accident to clarify expectations such as having only one passenger in the car at a time, no nighttime driving, no phone use while driving, or driving on roads requiring speeds above, say 55 miles per hour.
Also, clarify expectations about which vehicle the teen will drive, who pays for it and its maintenance, insurance, gas, and so on. Your teens may behave more responsibly if they have a financial stake such as paying for the gas and insurance themselves.
9. Practice Driving With GPS Assistance
Show your teens safe ways to drive with GPS help so they are not constantly glancing at their smartphones. One suggestion is to map the route and have the endpoint set before they even start the car.
Becoming a better driver takes time and patience. Helping your teens improve their skills behind the wheel is well worth the investment.