Tips for Teaching Your Teen How to Drive
While teens may approach their 16th birthday full of excitement, many parents will find themselves feeling the opposite. The thought of one’s precious baby handling an expensive machine that weighs a few thousand pounds can be a terrifying prospect. Fortunately, with a little pre-planning and patience, the task of teaching your teen to drive doesn’t have to be a hair-greying experience
Wait Until Your Teen Feels They’re Ready
A nervous new driver can be a dangerous driver. While we tend to think of teenagers as eager for independence, the truth is that kids will take new things in life at different speeds. The passage of a sixteenth birthday doesn’t automatically mean your son or daughter is ready to get behind the wheel. Leave expectations behind and talk to your child about how they feel about driving. If they seem anxious about it, don’t press the issue – just remind them that they can wait until they feel ready.
Relax and Keep the Mood Light
In most cases, your teen will already be aware of what’s at stake when they get behind the wheel (be it an injury, damage to an expensive possession, or even just their ego). The important thing is to keep them calm and avoid adding additional pressure to the situation. It may be tempting to correct their every minor mistake, but giving positive reinforcement (such as noting when they check their rear-view mirror) is much more effective at making good habits stick then negative feedback.
If your teen does slip up, try a question-asking approach. Rather than telling them they’re speeding, try asking your teen what the current speed limit is so that they can learn to correct their own mistakes.
In the event you find yourself getting agitated or nervous, ask your teen to pullover for a break.
Plan Your Route
Where your teen can drive should depend on how much experience they have behind the wheel. If it’s their first time out, find an empty parking lot to practice driving in a straight line and turns. For roads, choose a route you are familiar with, taking additional factors into account such as traffic, pedestrians, weather and time of day. Be aware of any laws in your province that may restrict the hours in which your learner can drive.
Teach Basic Vehicle Upkeep
It’s important to instill basic vehicle maintenance habits into your future driver – even if they aren’t getting behind the wheel for a few more years. Basic automotive care isn’t only a matter of practicality, it’s also a matter of safety. (No one wants to stranded in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire!)
Teach your teen how to check tire inflation, and which fluids to top up on a regular basis (including oil levels, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid, and coolant).
Seasonal transitions are the perfect time for a lesson in tire changing. The next time you find yourself switching from summer to winter tires (or vice versa), have your teen do it with you. (See our tips for how to properly change a tire).
Know Your Limits
Has it been over a decade since you last parallel parked? Do you avoid roundabouts? There’s no shame in acknowledging your limits and booking a driving lesson for your teen. After all, these courses are taught by professional instructors who are familiar with all the ins and outs of passing the BC driver’s exam.
A certified driving instructor will be able to show your teen how to properly execute through some of driving’s more difficult maneuvers. And who knows – maybe your young driver will have some expert tips to help you out on your own parallel parking!
Optimizing your experience on the roads is what we do best here at Searles, which is why we were voted Best Automotive Service(Independent) in 2017 by readers of the Victoria News. Give us a call at 1-250-475-2000 or book an appointment online for your next inspection or service.