The time has finally come; your teen is at the stage of their life where they can legally learn to take control of the wheel. This milestone can be daunting for both you and your child, and both parties must approach this phase with great care and caution.
When done right, your teen can be a responsible and safe driver, thanks in part to the habits you’ve instilled in them. There are no shortcuts to being a learned and skilled driver. It takes perseverance, patience, and grit from both you and your child to bring them to the skill required of them to drive independently.
Whether you’re teaching them yourself or enlisting the help of a professional instructor (or both), there are tips in this article to help get your child to the skill level they require to drive safely.
Here are six of these safety driving tips!
1. Tour The Vehicle
Your teen probably holds a bit of intuition on the basics of driving, like stepping on the gas pedal and turning the steering wheel. However, knowledge doesn’t always translate to the practical skill itself. It’s always better to give them a more complete picture of the different car parts they’ll use. This way, they’ll feel more at ease when they start taking the driver’s seat.
Start by familiarising them with the dashboard and steering wheel controls in a stationary position. Teach them how to turn on the headlights, the wipers, turn signals, the A/C unit, and other dashboard features.
Also, teach them how to adjust their car seats and open various compartments like the baggage area, passenger windows, and the fuel tank. If your family car has model-specific features, let them know that as well. While it’s natural for them to undergo a learning curve at the start, it’ll not take long for them to know these features like they’re at the back of their hand.
2. Initiate Parking and Driving in Low-Traffic Areas
Before you bring your child out on major highways for a real drive, be sure that they’re well-versed with basic driving knowledge first. You can start by letting them drive you around low-traffic areas, like an abandoned parking lot or a residential street during non-peak hours.
These settings provide the right environment for your child to gain confidence and skill in driving their car. Driving in quieter settings also minimises the risk of car-to-car accidents, which can be a fast way to put your child off driving for a long time. During these test runs, teach your child basic driving procedures—accelerating, braking, turning, and reversing. Also, teach them how to park the car correctly.
Unlike the franticness common in most major highways, you’re not inconveniencing other drivers by letting your novice child out on a spin. This helps in making for a more relaxed teaching and learning environment for both of you.
3. Teach Common Driver Interactions
Once your child familiarises themselves with the basic operations of a car, it’s time for them to take on bigger challenges—like driving in more public locations. This is the best time for you to educate them on the nuances of navigating the road with the biggest hurdle out there: other people.
Many subtle interactions can pop up in your everyday drive, but a quick way to gauge driver intent is by looking at their eyes. A quick glance can indicate if they’re letting you merge, if they intend to merge themselves, or other intentions based on the situation
Not all cars have untinted windows, though. Alternatively, other forms of interaction include the usage of vehicles. Honking and flashing headlights is a good way to get attention from other drivers and influence their behaviours. That said, be sure to employ these behaviours sparingly lest you want your child to face the wrath of others on the road.
4. Enrol Them in a Proper Driving School
Even if you’re a holder of an open license, it’s not a guarantee that you can provide the quality driving education your child deserves. If you want to ensure that your child is adequately equipped with driving knowledge, it’s best to find an experienced driving instructor, of which plenty can be found at Ezlicence UK, and enrol them for some lessons.
Reputable driving instructors provide a structured curriculum to help your child steadily progress in their driving skills. Furthermore, driving school instructors are also specially trained to teach students of all ages and backgrounds—making the job of imparting knowledge to your child so much easier.
While you can definitely play a part in teaching your child some driving techniques, for more risqué situations, having a professional handling the job makes things much smoother.
This is especially true for relaying information regarding more advanced techniques like merging in traffic, navigating intersections and roundabouts, and maintaining a legal speed.
5. Have Them Know Road Signs By Heart
Every driver should be familiar with their local road signs—and novice drivers are not exempted from this rule. Road signs in the UK are crucial for relaying information and keeping order on the roads. They also help reduce the risk of accidents.
There are many common signs that your child is probably already familiar with, such as No U-Turn, Stop, and No Left/Right Turn signs. However, there are likely many other signs that your child may not have come across. As much as possible, try to educate your child about the various road signs that are present near your community.
While your child is not expected to memorise all the signs in immediate detail, there are ways they can extract information even if the sign is unfamiliar. And that’s by looking at the signage shape.
Triangle signs warn of potential hazards ahead, circular signs are road rules that need to be adhered to, and rectangle signs are for giving information. Teaching these points is a good start for giving your child more knowledge about safe driving.
6. Teach Proper Vehicular Maintenance
Young drivers are in for a rude awakening if the extent of their interactions with their personal vehicle is driving and parking. If they’re unprepared for how to fix common car issues out on the road, that could spiral into a huge problem. This is why it’s vital to teach child of driving age how to repair the most common vehicle problems.
At home, be sure to break down all the possible adverse events that could happen to the vehicle over time. The battery could fail on them, a tire could deflate, gas could leak, and so on. While they can definitely bring their car to a repair shop and have them resolve the issue, it’s more convenient and cost-effective if your child can fix the issue themselves.
Furthermore, these lessons will also solidify their sense of ownership and responsibility over the car, making them a better car owner in the long run.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.