Despite technological advancements in vehicle safety, far too many people die or are seriously injured on our roads. Personal injury law firms like Turner Freeman see these cases every day.
A teenager getting their learners permit is a rite of passage for both the young person and parents. It is also one of the most important lessons your children will ever learn – driving is a big responsibility. We literally take our lives – and the lives of others – in our hands every time we get behind the wheel.
Below are some tips that can help make sure that learning to drive is a stress free (and safe) experience and your kids.
Lead by Example
What is your own driving style like? Are you a nervous? Aggressive? Calm? No matter what you say to them before the lesson starts, your children have been watching – and learning from – your driving style for many years so make sure every time you get behind the wheel that your own actions support the instructions and directions you are giving to the young driver.
Be Clear and Specific
Make sure that you give very specific instructions. Words like “slow” or “fast” mean different things to different people so try to say things like the actual speed you’d like them to go. Yelling to “stop” or “slow down” if your learner loses their nerve or makes a mistake also won’t help no matter how potentially dangerous the situation is – stay calm and tell them exactly what they need to do to fix it.
Practice The Basics
Devote entire lessons to building essential basic driving skills. Spend some time in an empty parking lot or quiet area teaching your child how to do things like start, stop, crash stop and other crucial manoeuvres. Being able to brake suddenly safely is a crucial skill that can’t be easily learned at the time it’s most needed. Repetition aids with retention, so make sure you go over this basic skills training regularly.
Have a Think about the Route
Before every drive; consider where you are going to go and the roads you’ll take to get there. Think about the types of driving manoeuvres the learner will need to do and if their skills – and your patience – are up to it. It is still important to expose them to a range of traffic conditions but you can’t teach someone how to merge on a motorway in peak hour properly if you are yelling frantic instructions after being taken by surprise yourself!
Learning how to drive is exciting and nerve wracking – and that’s just summing up the parents’ emotions! With some planning, patience, empathy and preparation you can help to not only give your child independence but also skills that they’ll remember and use for life. Safety doesn’t just matter while they’re learning, it’s something that all drivers need to focus on every time they sit in the drivers’ seat.
What advice would you give to a parent teaching their child how to drive?