Tips Parents Should Give Teens Before They Start Driving
I love my teen to death but the thought of a newbie driver behind the wheel makes me cringe. It’s the inexperience that is dangerous. I hardly feel as though the driving course they take is enough, so I made my teen drive with me much longer. It wasn’t until I felt comfortable letting her drive that she was able to go off on her own. Call me overprotective but teaching my teen safety and everything I know is my number one goal before they hit the road on their own.
I have to give special thanks to about 20 or so of my Facebook friends that helped me create this amazing amount of valuable experience to share with my readers.
There’s an overwhelming amount of information to go over with your teen before they are ready venture out on their own. I’ve decided to create a list of important topics I felt needed to be discussed.
Here are some of the things I talked to my teen about:
If driving and the brakes go out, grabbed the emergency brake to stop the car (this actually happened to me when I was a teen)
What do you do if your gas pedal is stuck and accelerating? Kick the gear in neutral and engage the brakes (it will damage your engine but it’s better than getting killed because you can’t slow or stop) oh and try not to panic (easier said than done). I actually had a thick rubber mat get stuck on my accelerator and didn’t realize it and couldn’t fix it quick enough. Knowing this trick is very helpful.
Talk about what to do if your car overheats while driving. Pull over immediately if you can. If you cannot stop, kick on the heater to full blast to help cool the car. (this actually happened to me once before too)
Don’t sit in a turn lane with your wheels turned. If someone hits you from behind you will automatically go into oncoming traffic. Have your wheels straight before until you are ready to turn.
If you are about to hit a small animal in the road, apply pressure to the brakes but do not turn the wheel. Depending on your speed, you could actually flip your vehicle and that’s what more dangerous than actually hitting the animal. It’s a very normal reaction to swerve to miss something.
No touching your cell phone while driving. No exceptions. If you absolutely need something on your phone have another passenger do it or pull over safely. Bluetooth installed on your vehicle is amazing. Especially when using GPS because it will verbally tell you where to go.
Set rules for how many friends are allowed in the car once you feel comfortable allowing them to venture off. I personally had to know the friend and we had a “one friend” rule for the longest time.
Talk to your teens about accidents.
- What to do if you are in an accident.
- What to do if you witness an accident.
- Know where your insurance paperwork is in the vehicle you are driving.
- I would even go as far as to have a tow truck company on that paperwork in case they need to decide on one.
Talk to your teen about the consequences of getting ticket. We have a “no warning” rule for speeding. It’s totally unacceptable. If our teen receives a ticket for speeding, the vehicle is immediately taken away. We are a bit strict with this rule.
Talk to your teen about riding in other friends’ vehicles. I am a bit strict here too. Most of the time we wouldn’t let my teen go with other teen drivers. I only know how my teen drives. There were many times where I had her drive and meet up with other friends even though they had room in their car for her just because I didn’t know the other teen drivers.
Be sure to tell your teen to keep their eyes up and looking to where you want to go, but scanning the whole road at the same time.
Be present the entire time you are in traffic, even at a signal or stop sign, if you can move out of the way you can avoid most accidents.
Leave at least a car length in front of your vehicle, if you can’t see the tires of the car in front of you (even at a signal or stop sign), you are too close.
No braking when the wheels are turned, you can lose traction easily that way and slide into things. Slow before you turn.
Teach your teen how to change a tire. This is knowledge every teen should have. It doesn’t matter the gender either. This should be required in my opinion.
Where your seat belt at all times. This is another “no warning” rule I have.
When the light turns green, be sure to look both ways and give a few seconds before entering the intersection. This is the best way to avoid people who run the red lights.
When changing lanes…. always make sure you see BOTH of their headlights in your center rear view mirror before you get in front of them. It confirms you are not cutting them off!
It’s important to think ahead when driving. If you miss your turn off, don’t panic or try to make that turn at the last minute. There will always be another exit or turn around. Our handy GPS is great at recalculating.
Talk to your teen about getting pulled over by the police. Be sure they understand to pull over in a safe location. I can’t tell you how many times I see people pull over on the fast lane. It’s not safe! Tell them to reduce their speed and turn on your blinker so the officer knows you are complying. Take as much time as you need to find a safe area. Be sure to stay in your vehicle until the officer approaches you. Keep you hands on the steering wheel in plain view. Then be respectful to the officer’s requests. It really is that simple.
Talk to your teens about drinking and driving. Give them scenarios and ask them what they would do in certain situations. This can be helpful if they are ever put on the spot in a friend situation.
You will be amazed at how much your teen actually absorbs when you talk through these scenarios.
What else? Am I missing any good tips for inexperienced drivers? I would love to hear tips you tell your teenager when learning to drive.