Despite a teenager’s adamant insistence that he or she is already an adult, the teen is still acquiring new skills and taking on new responsibilities yet to be mastered – such as driving. It’s therefore important to teach them the rules of the road and the importance of safety.
Practice Makes Perfect
Experts recommend that parents provide for regular, varied and repetitive lessons for at least 65 hours of driving time prior to a teen obtaining his or her driver’s license. These lessons should take place at different times of day, in varying weather conditions, and on different kinds of roads including suburban streets, city streets, highways and rural roads. Depending upon your teen’s experience and driving abilities, freeway and Interstate driving practices should be introduced only after he or she becomes comfortable and adept with slower, less congested roads.
Teach By Example
One extremely important teenage driving lesson is not included in the minimum 65 hours of driving instruction. It is, however, one of the most critical lessons and it begins long before your child even dreams of sitting in the driver’s seat, teaching by example. Wear your seatbelt. Stop fully at stop signs. Pull into a parking lot and stop your car before using your cell phone. Turn on your headlights well before dusk and during any kind of inclement weather. Avoid speeding, tailgating and other aggressive behavior. Parental instructions are more likely to be accepted if your teen has watched you put them into practice throughout his or her childhood.
Well before your teen reaches the age of a learner’s permit, emphasize that driving is a privilege and not a right. Make it clear that the state in which your family resides is the ultimate decision-maker regarding the licensing of drivers, regardless of age, and how reckless driving, driving under the influence and other dangerous activities may lead the state to take away driving privileges.
Another consideration before your teen starts driving is car insurance. If you add your son or daughter to your car insurance policy, your premium will likely increase. As a result, consider asking your teen to contribute to your joint car insurance payment each month, to underscore the importance of safe, defensive and accident-free driving.