Nothing can make a parent nervous quite like seeing their child drive off in a car on their own for the first time. There are so many unknowns, and driving school only teaches so much that it’s hard not to worry about them as they pull out of the driveway. The best thing you can do is give them the tools to protect themselves. Here, we’ll talk about how to teach your child to be a safe driver so you don’t have to have a heart attack any time they leave.
Set the Right Example
At the end of the day, even older children take a lot of what they see from their parents and incorporate it into who they are. If you know yourself to be a safe driver, try to explain the things that you do to protect yourself and others on the road to your child before they get the keys for themselves. If they see you driving recklessly and endangering others, it won’t mean very much to them if you tell them not to do what you do all the time.
Focus on Situational Awareness
There are a lot of hard driving skills that children learn through practice or driving school. Things like parallel parking, K-turning, and what road signs mean are definitely important, but you also need to focus on the softer skills as well. Fostering a strong sense of situational awareness and learning to ignore unnecessary distractions while driving will do more for protecting your child than learning many other basic skills.
Give Them Opportunities To Practice
If you want to teach your child to be a safe driver, you have to actually let them drive, no matter how nervous it might make you. It’s difficult to let go of control, especially when it’s something that could potentially be dangerous, but without the right amount of practice, they’ll never be able to get better. An untrained driver is far more prone to mistakes than an experienced one, so make sure you’re there with them to gently guide them on the right path of driving safety.
Outline Clear Restrictions and Punishments
It needs to be okay for your child to make mistakes—that’s how we as humans learn—but driving mistakes can be serious, so they need to be taken very seriously. When your kids are still getting started, it’s okay to place certain restrictions about where and when they can drive until they’re more experienced. Breaking these rules should be a big deal since they’re putting themselves in danger with something that doesn’t necessarily belong to them.