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tips for teen driving now car

Tips for Parents When Teaching Teens How to Drive

Written By, Amanda S.

The initial stage in teaching your adolescent to drive can definitely be a scary one. As most youths are eager to drive at the earliest possible age because driving means freedom, parents might begin to wonder if getting a solid night’s sleep is even in their cards anymore. And even though most states have instituted graduated license laws, to keep the youngest drivers out of the most dangerous situations, auto accidents are still the leading cause of death and injury in the teen years.  

Parents of young teen drivers have a responsibility to uphold the limits of a teen’s license, set clear and strict boundaries, and model good driving behaviors themselves. If you are embarking on the process of teaching your first teen to drive, or if you are trying for a first "successful" experience, then there are some things you should know about teaching your child to drive.

What to Know and What to Expect

  • Let your teen take the initiative: While the age in which teens begin to learn how to drive may vary from state to state, they might not be mature enough or even want the responsibility by the time they reach 15 or 16 years old. It’s important to let them express when they’re ready without pushing the issue. An overly anxious teen driver can be a dangerous one On the flip-side of that, an overly anxious parent can potentially put a teen driver in a situation they are not ready to handle.
  • Plan ahead: Before setting out on a driving journey with your teen driver, communicate the route in which they will be driving and what skills they will be working on that day.
  • You are the coach: The role of a driver’s parent is to coach your teen through the basics of driving. Avoid talking down or getting upset with them. Without saying generalized comments like “you’re too distracted,” be specific in what is required from them while also praising good performance.
  • Correct poor driving behaviors by asking questions: Instead of saying things like, “You’re going to get a speeding ticket if you don’t slow down,” try a question-asking approach like “What’s the speed limit here?” Ask questions that teach teens to be aware of their surroundings.
  • Start slow and build up: When beginning the driving process, start at an empty parking lot and spend a good amount of time starting, stopping, and turning. Once the teen feels comfortable enough to progress, move on to a residential area with few cars. The next step is onto streets with heavier traffic.
  • Be constantly aware: One of the hardest things about safe driving is being aware of your surroundings. Cell phones are the number one distraction for teens on the road so maintaining a 360-degree awareness is not a skill that teens have yet mastered. It is the parent’s responsibility to keep watch on all four sides of the car.
  • Be careful with directions: It is vital to have an open and clear communication with your teen, so instead of saying “Turn left now,” try to anticipate the action and say, “we will be turning left on the next block.”
  • Keep the lesson short: The amount of times that parents drive with their teens is more important than the amount of time spent driving in each session. Initially, limit the lesson to 15 to 20 minutes at a time. As the confidence builds in your teen, expand on the duration of driving practice.
  • Start off in daylight and good weather: As teens develop their driving skills, try to focus on daytime driving and what road conditions are good and safe.
  • SET A GOOD EXAMPLE: We cannot stress this one enough. Teenagers base their behaviors on what they see at home. If parents are behind the wheel and texting at the same time, their teen will pick up on those same behaviors. By following good driving practices when driving with your teen, you lessen the chance of them being distracted as well and can prevent a potentially deadly situation.

As teaching your teen to drive can be somewhat of an anxiety-inducing situation, make sure to take your time to prepare, work on building skill-by-skill, and patiently work with your teenager. Not only will you make a huge difference in how they feel behind the wheel, but they will carry those lessons into the future. At NowCar, we offer a hassle-free car buying experience and if you’re planning on purchasing your teen a brand new car, we can personally deliver it to your home and make it the ultimate surprise.