It’s time for your child to learn to drive. Soon, they will have their license and be out on the road on their own. As a parent, naturally you’re worried about how well they will do – you want them to succeed. At the same time, you’re also worried about sending them off on their own. Taking an active role in teaching your child to drive is a great way to reinforce good driving behavior and reduce their risk of being in an accident.
The more hours you spend teaching your child, the more experience he or she will have. Here are some tips for teaching your child the rules of the road.
1. Review the Driver’s Manual Together
Sit down and go over the driver’s manual. Make sure they know all the local rules in your state. You may even find the review helpful for you, too! It’s been awhile since you took your driver’s test, and rules may have changed. This refresher course could also help you when you’re on the road.
2. Sign Them Up for Classes
There are some things only a teacher can teach. Driving instructors have experience in teaching inexperienced drivers the rules of the road and how to drive. They might know advice that you wouldn’t think of because driving has become second nature to you.
3. Help them Study for the Written Exam
There are many quizzes online that help students prepare for the test. Let your child know so they can get extra practice. Ask them questions throughout the day to reinforce their learning. Encourage them to ask questions if they aren’t sure of something. However, also be wary of being too involved. You can’t take the test for them. Don’t provide them with the answers right away. See if they can remember the answer on their own first. Prompt them with hints and reminders.
4. Set a Good Example
When you are driving with your children, set a good example by observing good driving practices. Signal when changing lanes or turning, don’t speed, don’t tail gate, etc. In other words, drive how you would want your children to drive if they weren’t with you. Remember, your children learn behavior by watching you. The biggest fear of a parent while his children are out is their safety. By being a safe driver yourself, you reinforce safe driving behavior.
5. Stay Patient
When you are on the road with your child, stay calm. Remember they only just started learning. Progress at the right pace. For example, start teaching them in a parking lot, then a quiet neighborhood, etc. Don’t put them on the highway too soon. If they do make a mistake, don’t overreact or get mad, as that can intimidate them more and cause their performance to suffer. If they are doing something wrong, ask questions to prompt them to realize their mistake and correct their behavior on their own.
6. Wait Until They Are Ready
Some teens can’t wait to hop in a car and hit the road. Others are more cautious and anxious. If your child is not ready to learn yet, wait. If he or she is nervous, it will be harder to learn and can influence their behavior. An anxious driver won’t learn well and will make more mistakes.
7. Use the Weather to Your Advantage
In the beginning, train during the day, when the weather is nice. It’s harder to drive during the dark and during the rain, so wait until your child is ready before having them drive in those conditions. Once your child has plenty of experience and is ready, take them out during a light rain and teach them safe driving in poor weather conditions. Warn them that the road will be slick and they will have to break gently and sooner than they are used to. Try starting in a parking lot first.
It’s tough to see your child grow up, but when you help them learn, you know that they will be safe on the road.