It’s an exciting (and nerve-wracking) experience to be the parent of a teen driver. As their parent, it’s your job to make sure they get the training they need to become a safe, responsible driver.
This means getting plenty of driving practice. Here are some tips for parents of teenage drivers out there.
Plan your practice routes: It’s a good idea to know where you want to practice before you head out. This way you can avoid any unexpected situations and unnecessary frustration. Be sure to start easy (in empty parking lots, for example) before gradually building to more challenging scenarios like busy roads during rush hour or merging on the freeway.
Be patient and open: It’s natural for your teen to make mistakes when they first start out. As stressful as it can be when you’re not the one calling the shots behind the wheel, you should be patient with your son or daughter. Yelling or raising your voice will only make things worse. It’s better to have your teen pull over so the two of you can calmly discuss any mistakes and how to correct them in the future. You should also be open to any questions your teen may have, and keep an open dialogue. You want them to feel comfortable when it comes to asking for help.
Practice, practice, practice! Most states require a set number of supervised driving hours for teens (often 50 hours, with 10 occurring at night – but it all varies by state). While it’s important for your teen to meet this requirement, it doesn’t mean you should stop there. The more driving experience teens get, the better off they will be when it comes time for them to take their driving test.
Be a good role model: Even when your teen isn’t the one behind the wheel, he or she is learning from your example. If you text or talk on the phone while driving, frequently speed up to get through yellow lights and roll through stop signs, your teen will view these as admissible driving behaviors. Always drive safely so that you set a good example for your teen.
Driving practice doesn’t have to be stressful. As long as you follow these tips and listen to each other, it’ll be smooth sailing (or driving, rather)—and you’ll enjoy some quality bonding time.