According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), car crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths in the U.S. However, convincing a teenager of the reality of this disturbing fact is quite impossible. Therefore, parents must use tact and patience when dealing with eager an teen driver.
Below explains four ways to survive your teen driver into being a full-time driver.
- Set Ground Rules
Teens often expect parents to let them drive without adhering to basic road rules. Therefore, firmly explain that your own driving rules are equally as important as legal driving regulations. First, absolutely no cell phone usage allowed when behind the wheel. Second, restrict which passengers are allowed to drive with your teen. The last thing they need is impatient and inexperienced friends encouraging them to disregard safe driving practices. Third, set a specific night curfew. Explain that nighttime driving is dangerous for all drivers. Finally, speeding, failing to use a seat belt and reckless driving will result in automatic suspension of driving privileges.
- Timely Constructive Criticism
The time to provide constructive criticism is not while the teen is driving, but before or after while at home. Unless there are major safety concerns, the last thing a nervous teen needs is criticism from an upset parent while they are driving. All parents face the challenge of being patient while allowing their teen to naturally learn and correct their own mistakes. Consider letting them take short trips in less-populated areas. Remember to enforce your own rules. Do not let your teen argue their way out of driving unsafely or failing to take proper direction. Immediately have them stop the car and drive them home.
- Practice Tests
Many teenagers only skim through the official driver’s manual, and as a result, they fail their written tests. This will inevitably create stress and frustration for the whole family. Set the expectation that your teen needs to pass a practice test before taking the actual test. When possible, encourage your teen to take online practice and knowledge tests. For example, APNA Toronto offers an online G1 test for the Ontario area.
- Focus on the Right Training
Many parents make the mistake of focusing on obvious, difficult driving maneuvers, such as parallel parking. However, the primary focus should be on hazard recognition and decision making. As you drive in hazardous conditions, such as bad weather or merging onto a busy highway, narrate what you are doing and thinking with your teen. Take time when sitting next to your teen in the passenger seat to identify and discuss potential hazards.
In conclusion, setting ground rules, providing timely feedback, focusing on hazard recognition and practice tests will help both you and your teen driver stay sane and safe.
Guest Post: A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she’s used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here.
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