If your teen has a permit and is working to get a driver's license, you will probably need to spend some time teaching her how to drive. Many states require teenagers with the student's permission to log a certain number of supervised driving hours outside the driver's training, according to the governor's highway safety association, and this often means that the parents play the role of driving instructor.
Before you start teaching your teenager driving, it's a good idea to brush up on your states' demands and prepare yourself to be a good teacher. Here are some things to consider when teaching your teenager to drive.
Prepare to Learn Your Teenage Driver
Before each lesson, choose a location and decide what skills your teen will train, suggests KidsHealth.org. For example, you might want to find an empty parking lot where your teenager can practice braking or turning. It can also be a good place to practice using anti-lock brakes if the pavement is wet. Allowing your teenager to work in areas of lower risk can help prepare her for future experiences on highways.
Remind your teenager that you are constantly watching any obstacles that other drivers, bicycles and pedestrians say, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say. Stress the importance of avoiding distractions by not using phones or eating while driving.
It is also important to practice safe driving habits yourself, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition to helping you be safe on the road, it is a good idea to model good driving behavior for your teen when you are the one behind the wheel.
Give Feedback to Your Teenage Driver
When your teen makes a mistake, use it as a learning opportunity, suggest KidsHealth.org. Instruct your child to safely pull the car over and discuss what happened and how to prevent the mistake from happening again.
Instead of being upset about your teen driver, try to make comments that help make her more aware of a mistake, FamilyEducation.com says. For example, you might ask your teen what the speed limit is instead of expressing fear that she will be ticketed for speed. In addition, you should commend your teen when you notice improvements.
Enter your own road rules
In addition to reviewing state laws for teens who learn to drive and remind your teen in general laws, like your state's seat belt requirements, you may want to lay down additional rules, NHTSA suggests. For example, if your permit does not limit the number of passengers who can travel with a teen driver, you may want to set your own rule. Clearly announce all the requirements you have made with your teenager and make sure they understand the consequences of breaking them, says NHTSA. Consider writing your expectations on your teenager.
A lot of training is required for a teenager to become a safe driver. By patiently coaching your child and providing consistent feedback, you can help your young people gain experience and become a better driver.
Originally published on June 23, 2009.