A teen behind the steering wheel is surely not the image of safety. While your teenager may be one of the most responsible and careful creatures out there, there’s no denying that there are other people out on the road who may be far less responsible than the one you’ve raised.
To make matters even worse, teenagers tend to be a bit more easily distracted than the rest of us – and they don’t really have that many years of experience with driving either.
That’s why you, as a parent, need to have a few tips and tricks up your sleeve before your teen gets a car of their own. It won’t guarantee that you’re able to avoid those worries when they’re out driving, though, but it will at least make it a bit easier for you to stay calm and trust that you’ve raised a responsible driver.
Here is a handful of brilliant tips to help you out with your troubles once your teen is ready to drive on their own.
Do: Take a drive with them
Now that your teen is almost all grown up and ready to roll out of the driveway on their own, you might be thinking back to your own days of driving for the very first time. Perhaps you had a few minor hiccups or maybe you’ve been in a more serious accident – either way, it’s important that you get to consider their driving for yourself.
Most likely, your teen has been to a great driving school and learned how to drive with caution, in general, as well as how to avoid those speeding fines. You won’t really know how well they’re faring unless you go ahead and take a ride with them. It’s going to be way easier for you to think back to this experience when they’re taking a ride by themselves, after all, and remind yourself that they are responsible on the road.
And, if this isn’t your experience, now is the time to correct them and try to turn them into even better drivers. This is definitely a difficult trick to pull off, though, as your teenager has reached a time in their lives where they’re quite certain that they already know everything – and they definitely know more than their parents.
Your job is to make them aware of their own mistakes without throwing commands in their face; it’s a challenge, for sure, but it’s a part of being a parent.
Don’t: Tell them straight up what to do
This brings us to our next point: when you do notice that they’re committing a road blunder or two, it’s going to be easier to make them listen if you’re able to guide them to the right conclusion. Asking questions is the keyword here and it’s going to be so much more helpful than simply telling them straight up how to do things.
Say, for example, that you’re out on a drive in the neighbourhood together before they finally obtain that driver’s license that will allow them to roam around freely. You’ll notice rather quickly if they’re going a bit faster than what they should be going, though, but don’t tell them to slow down right away.
Instead, just ask them what the speed limit is – and watch how they immediately realise that they’re going a bit over that limit. Now you’ve managed to trick them into reaching the right conclusion and, even better, taught them that checking the speed limit is the key to avoiding those fines – and those accident.
You can keep the same mentality when it comes to other road blunders they’re likely to commit as well, though, so just try to remind yourself to ask leading questions instead of telling them the answer. It’s what their teachers will be doing in the classroom, in any way, and it’s going to resonate well with how they’re used to being taught new things as well.
Deep down, you probably know that your teenager is both intelligent and self-aware so give them the benefit of the doubt by allowing them to reach the right conclusion on their own. Otherwise, they might be counting on you to always tell them what to do – and you won’t always be there for them in the car when they’re out driving.
Do: Talk about your concerns
Yet, they are teenagers and you do have decades of experience with driving which they don’t. It would be wise of them to listen to your concerns, after all, and as long as you raise them with a focus on calming your mind and letting them know that you’re just looking after their safety because you love them, they might even be inclined to listen.
There are a few ways to do this which might help you out when they’ve finally obtained their driver’s license. Talk about distracted driving, first of all, and how it’s particularly common among young adults and teenagers. They’ve probably heard all about this in their driving classes but hearing it from you won’t hurt either.
Remember that there are apps you could convince them to install so that you’re able to not only keep an eye on their driving but also make it a bit safer for them in case something should happen. A private number plate will help you out with this as well in case their new ride should be subject to theft; you can have a check here, for example, for some that are quite affordable so that their vehicle is kept safe.
Don’t: Get hysterical
Finally, it’s important to keep your cool when you’re out driving with your teen. While it makes sense to be a bit nervous when you haven’t been in the passenger seat with them before, nerves tend to make accidents a bit more likely – and they definitely won’t feel confident as a driver if you’re acting like your life is flashing before your eyes.
In short, avoid driving with your teen if you’re not able to keep your cool in the car. It’s not going to benefit either of you, really, and you certainly won’t feel very reassured about their driving later on either.
Nb. Collaborative post.