It seems like yesterday you were teaching your precious little angel how to walk, and today you’re clutching onto the door as they tap the brake every three feet while circling an empty parking lot. While the latter may be the more anxiety-ridden of the two, taking the time to teach your teen how to drive safely will ease both of your minds whenever they slide behind the wheel of the family car.

Below are some tips to help you both with the transition.

Preach The Importance of Focused Driving

Simply put, teens are inexperienced drivers. According to the CDC, teens are far more likely than adults to make critical errors when faced with driving decisions. These mistakes, such as overcorrecting or underestimating dangerous situations, can result in serious or fatal crashes.

First things first, make sure you’re a good role model. If your teen has watched you text and drive since you turned their car seat forward, then it’s time to change your behavior. Secondly, set them up with hands-free calling (it’s illegal in Virginia to talk and drive without a hands-free device). And lastly, advise them to put their phones away while they are driving (in a purse, bookbag, or in the console) so it’s not so easy to grab.

Get Them Familiar with Their Car

It may sound silly, but remember that teens are very new to driving a vehicle. They may not understand what some of the gauges mean, so practice good patience. This is also a great time to teach them about basic maintenance and what to do in an emergency, like what to do when they see an ambulance. 

Show them how to adjust their seats so that they’re comfortable and have excellent visibility. Teach them how to react in situations like inclement weather and accidents. Also, show them what to do when pulled over by the police. New drivers may be very nervous whenever they see blue lights behind them. If you teach them how to respond, you may calm their nerves just a bit.

Practice Makes Perfect

If you want your teen to be a better driver, then clock as many hours with them as possible. As soon as your teen has a learner’s permit, get them behind the wheel. Be sure to include new routes so your teen can learn how to drive in different situations. If your teen has aced driving in suburban or rural areas, take them to a nearby city and show them the ropes.

Taking a Driver Improvement Class (DIP) through A1 Driver is a great way to help your teen learn the rules of the road. We offer in-person and online instruction that will help your teen feel confident behind the wheel.