Tips for Teaching Your Teen Safe Driving Techniques

One of the most exciting times in a teenager’s life is learning to drive. This usually coincides with some of the scariest times for a parent’s life. If your child is approaching the time in their life when they will obtain their learner’s permit, there are several tips you can follow when teaching your teen safe driving techniques to help them avoid car accidents.

Every teen and every family situation is different, but the goals remain the same – get a newly licensed driver in the family and have a young driver who is ready to face the roadways safely when driving on their own.

Safe teen driving tips

What you can expect and how to respond

As you begin the process of teaching a teen how to drive, you should take these steps for success.

  • Let them be ready on their own. It will do nobody any good by rushing a teen to drive before they are ready. Some are ready to start learning as soon as they hit the appropriate age. However, some teens may not be ready yet. Let your teen approach you about driving. Do not push an anxious teen driver into a dangerous situation.
  • Plan ahead. When you are first starting out, know ahead of time where you will be driving with your teen. Let your teen know where you are planning on taking them to practice.
  • You drive the route first. You should drive the route you want the teen to drive with them in the passenger seat first. This gives them an idea of what to be aware of as well as a picture of any potential safety concerns. They can ask questions as you do this initial drive.
  • You are the coach. You are the one teaching your teen the ropes. Avoid getting upset with them if they make mistakes. Make sure you communicate steps clearly. There are many things experienced drivers take for granted that we may not tell a new driver to do, such as turning on a turn signal 100 feet before a turn.
  • Start slow and build up. When you begin the driving process, you could start in an empty parking lot. Spend time starting, stopping, and turning. Let them get comfortable with the vehicle. Then you can move to a quiet residential area. Slowly build to busier roadways.
  • Be careful with directions. Remember, your teen is just learning, so you need to give them notice before you want them to do something. For example, instead of saying “turn left here,” give them notice – “In about two blocks, you’re going to be turning left.” Try not to use the word “right” unless you actually want them to turn right. Use the word “correct” instead.
  • Drive in good, clear weather. When your teen is learning to drive, make sure it is daylight and that the weather is good.
  • Set a good example. You are the role model for driving. As your teen begins to learn to drive, they will start watching how you drive closely. Drive how you want your teenager to drive. If you make a habit of trying to beat yellow lights or not using turn signals when changing lanes, you are setting a bad example for your teen.

As you start this journey, remember that your goal is to ensure your teen will be safe when they finally get their license and set out on their own.