I don’t know what is more shocking…that I have child old enough to drive OR that I have a child entering her last year of high school. Same child. Same shock. Can she really be 17? Where did the time go? Wasn’t she driving the ride-on Jeep yesterday? Didn’t she board the yellow school bus just a bit ago? My oldest is now a driver and about to enter 12th grade. Gulp. I’m still in shock.
I always thought she would be the kid who wanted to get her driver’s license yesterday, but in actuality she was in no rush. She took driver’s education, did her hours, practiced, but not in a rush to taker her test. I was puzzled by her hesitance. We live in a rural area. There is no public transportation. No stores in walking distance, in fact nothing is in walking distance. She likes to shop and get together with friends, but I found that quite a few of her friends were also in no rush to get their licenses. I scheduled her driving test for the end of the school since I wanted her to be able to drive herself to places over the summer. She passed on the first try.
Now that she is driving…and mom and dad survived the whole process…I wanted to share my 10 tips for helping your teen become a safe driver:
10 Tips for Teaching Teens How To Drive
- Don’t rush it. If your teen is not enthusiastic about learning to drive, don’t force the issue. Driver’s ed is not cheap. Be sure she is ready to get the full benefit. Give her time to get used to the idea. Maybe she will hear that a friend is taking driver’s education.
- Learning to drive is a privilege not a right. As the old saying goes, just because Tommy is doing it doesn’t mean that you have to do it. Don’t be afraid to suspend driving lessons or access to the car if grades suffer or a little “teen attitude” pops up.
- Put the onus on her. She needs to take the lead on driving. She needs to keep track of her hours. She needs to ask you if she can drive.
- As you are driving, talk to her about driving rules. I talked to my teen about “crazy” drivers, impatient drivers, tailgaters, and Sunday drivers.
- When she is driving, don’t turn on the radio. Keep the talking to a minimum. I talked to my teen about her driving but didn’t probe about school work or anything else.
- Once she got her license, we told her that she needed to text or call once she arrived at her destination and when she was ready to leave.
- Even though her car has a GPS, we want her to let us know where she is going. W
- She is not allowed to drive friends. Period. I don’t want her to feel pressure to be a taxi service for friends, so we told her to tell friends that this is our family’s rule. She has driven her sister once and her grandmother once, but never friends.
- A huge issue for our family is time management. I am teaching her to leave early for events. I told her I would rather that she was late for school or meeting up with a friend, than got in to a car accident or got a speeding ticket.
- The final rule above all other rules is to drive safe.
What are your family’s rules or tips for a successful teen driving experience?
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