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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are You Prepared To Teach Your Teen To Drive?

Are you prepared to teach your teen to drive? How will you do it? Can you remain calm and reassuring so that you won't upset your teen and increase the danger? Do you know how to start and the tools you will need? It’s not as easy as you might think.

If you consider yourself a safe and responsible driver, the driving skills that you now take for granted were developed over many years. You have learned many lessons as a driver either through getting a traffic ticket, close calls, or from having been involved in collisions yourself. As an adult you can also take the lessons of others and apply them to your own driving environment.

Now, remember back to how you felt when you were 15 or 16. Was your driving attitude then the same as it is now? Teens have a sense of invincibility, thinking that nothing bad will ever happen to them. They rarely have the wisdom or experience to take the lessons of others and apply it to their own life. They have to learn on their own. That is why it is critical that you provide those lessons in a safe environment so that they can learn the lessons needed.

The problem with parents teaching teens to drive in the US is that those parents are rarely prepared to teach. You have spent years trying to keep your child safe and now you will be teaching them to operate a machine that has the capability of killing them. There is no more important task.

To teach your child to drive, you have to start preparing early before they are old enough to get their learner's permit. Before you start, you need to ask yourself some hard questions and give very honest answers. Some questions you should ask yourself are:

What kind of driving example am I setting for my child?Are you really a safe driver? Do you routinely speed? Do you try to make it through the yellow light at the last moment instead of stopping as the law requires? Do you tailgate? Your child has been watching you drive for years and has been picking up your bad driving habits. If you are guilty of any of the items listed above, you need to change your driving behavior and let your teen know why.

Do you remain calm behind the wheel or do you rant and rave at the driving environment? – It is very difficult to remain calm and keep your anger in check in today’s driving environment but it is important to remember that our emotions play a big part in how we drive. Anger and frustration, while understandable, is a distraction that can lead us to take chances we might not otherwise take. Learning to accept the driving situation as it is, adapting to it by learning to leave early and keeping your anger in check will make you a much safer driver and you will pass that on to your teen.

You studied the driver's manual when you first got your license but are you familiar with it now? - Some things have changed. For example, experts no longer suggest one car length for every 10 mph of speed as a safe following distance. Instead, that rule has been replaced with the two second following distance. You may want to get a copy of the manual and start studying.

Do you know all the signs? - Do you know a sign's meaning based on its shape and color alone? What is the shape and color of a regulatory sign or a road services sign? This is important information and you should start teaching the meaning of the signs before your teen gets his or her learner's permit.

Can you parallel park? – Do you know the proper way to enter and exit a slanted parking space in a parking lot?

Before starting to teach your teen to drive you should start studying and devour the internet for tips and demonstrations. Youtube.com. can be a good source. For links to some good Youtube sites, you can visit the National Safety Commission’s Youtube channel at: http://www.youtube.com/user/NationalSafetyComm

You may want to consider attending a driving school and even taking a lesson or two from a behind-the-wheel driving test course to learn some teaching methods.

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