Drive Safely: Teach Your Teen How to be Responsible on the Road

Drive SafelyLearning how to drive is one of the rites of passage for every teenager. As not every parent is willing to fork over the money for driving lessons, teens in the U.S. typically get their driving basics from their parents. Parents are not trained to give driving lessons, however, and most of them had to go through the same lesson from their own parents (or friends) before they got their license.

This leads to a typical problem: the teenager learns how to control the car and park it properly, but they don't get a lot of training on safety. Here are some points to remember:

Teach Them the Basics

The basics of driving involve controlling the machinery at the driver's disposal. This means teaching your teenager to respect the car's power and its ability to cause trouble if they lack proficiency.

A driver must master the car's controls and know its dimensions to avoid hitting people and other vehicles. Parallel parking is one of the most common causes of difficulty, so spend a few hours teaching your child how to do it right on both sides of the road. For the basics, an empty parking lot is a good place. To teach precision, it helps to use traffic cones. If your teen runs over it, your car won't be damaged.

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Teach Your Teen in Bad Weather

Most driving lessons happen during a sunny day. If you don't teach your child to drive in bad weather and they eventually need to (and they're alone), Noll Law Office says that you're lucky if they only got a ticket because you can hire traffic lawyers for help. Take your child for driving lessons when it's raining or snowing. Before that, teach them to drive at night. Don't limit the experience to an empty parking lot. Use scarcely used roads at first, then take them to a busy street and the highway when they get better.

Teach Your Teen to Spot Danger Signs

This is the most important part of driving: spotting signs of danger. This involves respecting traffic lights and stop signs, checking for traffic before pulling out, slowing at pedestrian signs and looking out for people, using signal lights, and checking the side mirrors and the rear view mirror, among many others.

Forty to 50 hours of supervised practice can make your child a better driver. Focus on the driving and safety and avoid bringing up topics that have nothing to do with what they're doing, like bad grades in school. The more focused your child is, the safer you'll both be, and the faster they can learn.

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