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Published On: Thu, Apr 9th, 2015

4 Things to Do Before Your Teen Starts Driving

Kids grow up so fast, and before you know it, your little baby will be turning 16 and eager to get behind the wheel of your family car. Learning to drive is a teen’s rite of passage, and it may be an added stress for you as the parent. However, the more you can prepare your child for the open road, the less stressed you will have to be.

Before your teen starts driving, the following are four things you need to do as a parent.

1 Teach them to drive.

Although your child may be taking driver’s education classes in school or through a private institution, it’s still very important for you to take your teen out to practice driving. This will allow you to teach them the proper way to handle the car, and it will also allow you to see what type of skills (or lack of) they have. Knowing if your child is a good driver can help put your mind at ease when they do have their license.

Photo/Ed Brown via wikimedia commons

Photo/Ed Brown via wikimedia commons

Take them to a nearby empty parking lot so that they can practice driving, and then slowly take them out on the road. Be sure to take them out at different times of day as well as in different weather conditions. This will teach them how to handle the car while driving at night, in the rain, in the snow, etc. instead of just when the sun is shining and the weather is perfect.

2. Make them learn a map.

Having a good sense of direction is very important when it comes to driving, so be sure to teach your child about your town’s streets as well as general directions. Even if the car they have has GPS on it, it’s still important for your child to know where to get from Point A to Point B on their own. After all, technology may fail, and how often has a GPS led you somewhere you didn’t want to go? Knowing how to get around will allow your child to safely get from one place to another without having to call you to tell you they’re lost.

3. Prepare them for accidents.

Although you never want your child to be involved in a car accident, it’s important to remember that it’s always a possibility. The best thing you can do as a parent is to prepare your child for a car accident. Make sure they understand exactly what to do in case they are ever in an accident. Make sure they know where their insurance card is located as well as how to contact the police. If you have an attorney that you can trust, make sure your child knows their phone number as well (even if they may not need it). Ensuring your child is prepared for an accident can help to keep him or her safe.

4. Remind your teen about safety.

Although your teen may be smart, it’s still very important to remind them about being safe behind the wheel. Make sure that your teen understands not to text and drive. You can even have them install an app that will not make it possible for them to use their phone while driving (except to call 911). You should also make sure they understand to never operate a car when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Make sure your teen know that, while you will be disappointed, they are better off calling you for a ride home in this situation instead of getting behind the wheel or getting in the car with someone else who may be intoxicated.

Guest Author: Paul Smith

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- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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  1. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “trash”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    […] similar between teens and self-driving cars, it’s the fact that both need the practice to learn how to drive properly. The two start with zero experience, and accumulate knowledge and experience allows them to hone […]

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