Preparing your Teenager for Driving
I don’t think you could ever put in too many hours when you are preparing your teenager for driving. For me, this was a stressful task but not for the reasons you may think. My daughter didn’t even want to learn to drive. It was forced upon here. I told her she didn’t have to continue driving but she did have to learn. The choice would be up to her after she completed her driving course. I’m mean really… What teen doesn’t want to learn to drive? I swear my kids are strange!
Let me explain our thought process by insisting she learn to drive. First of all, my husband is a police officer here in Texas. He works accidents all day long. Proper training is key for safety when learning how to drive. It takes months and months to gain the experience you need before you go out on your own. We wanted our teenage daughter to have plenty of experience behind the wheel before she headed off on her own. We went over the limit too. She had to drive with us a full year before we would let her go by herself. That’s life with a police officer Daddy. We also explained to her the dangers of the vehicle and speeding. If she is caught not obeying the laws or speeding she will be given no warning. The car will immediately be taken away. She clearly understands that they bus stop is right up the street and can get her anywhere she needs to go. Strict right? No, we don’t think so. Kids will follow the rules you set up for them. Besides, this is our car. She is borrowing it until she can purchase one for herself and driving is a privilege.
Once she practiced a full year with us, she was allowed to venture on her own. We felt completely confident that she could maneuver the streets safely without us. Besides, she’s a good kid. She’s quiet, reserved and kind of a nerd. Introvert to say the least. I’m not so sure this method would work with a defiant child though. Next, we set up rules for how many people could be in the vehicle with her at a time. We only allowed one other person in her car at a time. If there were more than that, I would jump in and help them get to where they were going.
We did make one mistake though… we allowed her to be a passenger in a vehicle with another teenage driver. This was a teen we knew since he was in elementary school. We felt him to be responsible enough to drive and he was not the “go wild” party type. I say we made a mistake because we didn’t research he training before we allowed her to go. We assumed he had the same as her. She did get into her first car accident when he was driving. Thank goodness he was driving a big vehicle and they didn’t get hurt. It was his fault though. He was distracted and slammed into the back of someone. To this day, we don’t allow her to ride with other teens. She has to be the one to drive because we trust her driving.
One very important thing we insisted her vehicle have installed in it, is a blue tooth system to allow hands free phone conversations. She has a 4 door Ford Focus and it came with her vehicle. She could answer the phone from the wheel and hang it up there too. We didn’t want her reaching for her phone if it was ringing. We did tell her in the beginning she wasn’t allowed to use that until she was less nervous too. Today I’m very grateful her car has that option though.
The next thing we had to think about before she even started driving was insurance. Ugh, insurance… You know how expensive it is to have a child under the age of 21 with insurance. It can be crazy expensive. Shopping for insurance doesn’t have to be a difficult task though. We called our provider we have been with since high school but we also did some shopping around.
We all love our children very much and we would never want them to be hurt in anyway, shape or form. After the first year that we made her drive with us, she ended up wanting to drive later on. She even thanked us for making her go out of her comfort zone. That melted my heart!
My daughter is now 19. She has gotten one ticket to date for not making a complete stop at a stop sign. She went before the courts and took defensive driving for her mistake. Everyone makes mistakes and I’m happy that it wasn’t a speeding ticket. I’m sharing what worked for me in hopes in may work for you too. I can tell you that I have a nine year old child that is very different from my teen. I may have to come up with a whole different way for her cause she’s crazy! lol…
So tell me, what’s the most stressful thing for you when preparing your teenager for driving? Leave a comment below and tell me how you handled it. I know I will need tips for my nine (going on nineteen) year old.