It’s stressful but necessary to teach your teenager how to drive. Or to at least impart the basics to them as soon as they’re of age. While there are many driving schools around, giving your teen some knowledge and experience beforehand will greatly assist them in the long run. Teens can find it daunting to jump into the driver’s seat for the first time with a brand new driving instructor who is a stranger.
In the beginning, driving a car is truly like operating heavy machinery. You need to make sure both you and your teen feel relaxed as this should be an easy-going experience. It’s best you choose a quiet time to hit the road with them. Also, make sure you’re not taking them in your best car. Your used Audi is a much better option than your brand new Mercedes. A Sunday afternoon would work or, perhaps, start these driving lessons the next time a public holiday occurs. Many people are away on long weekends which means the roads are clear of traffic and you will both feel safer.
Make sure you educate your teenager on how the vehicle actually works
This is paramount to protect them while they’re learning and in the future when they have their own car. Understanding how the vehicle actually works gives them useful knowledge that could be helpful should they find themselves in a dangerous car-related situation in the future. This means you need to run through all the functional parts of the car that are within the driver’s control. In this way, you’re teaching them how to not only drive the car but to drive it well. First-time drivers are likely unaware of why they shouldn’t slip their clutch, gear down when the car is driving too fast, drive on their brakes and so on. But if you offer some insight into how the car actually operates, things like that will make sense.
What’s more, have them sit in the driver’s seat with the car turned off and push the pedals and change the gears. Let them get used to feeling where the indicators are and how to turn the lights on. A couple of practise rounds beforehand will go a long way to prevent them panicking when they’re driving the car for the first couple of times. And, of course, make sure to place a sticker on the rear window indicating there’s a learner driver behind the wheel.
Provide good direction
To be able to provide good direction you, as their teacher and parent, should remain calm. If you panic or raise your voice, your teen might get a fright. Their reaction could potentially be dangerous. Make sure you can keep it together even if you become worried about something they’re doing incorrectly. Learn to give simple instructions so that they can hear you clearly and do as you tell them. Don’t be overly critical if they get something wrong either, this will only make them feel more insecure. Rather than criticising what they’re doing, focus on correcting them and explaining why they should follow your instructions.
Teach them about maintenance
Learning about the maintenance of a car is invaluable. Often, parents forget to teach their teenagers about what it takes to maintain a car unless they’re passionate about cars themselves. Even if you’re not a car enthusiast you do know to ask about checking your car’s oil and water, having the tyres pumped, knowing when to have your tyres swapped or knowing if your tyres are out of alignment. These are things your teenager should know as well.
Teach them how to buy
Your teenager will soon be in the market for a car of their own. Whether you plan on assisting them with financing it or not, it’s a good idea to take them around to reputable car dealerships so they begin to understand how to purchase a car. You can teach them about the pitfalls of buying a brand new car and explain why a secondhand vehicle is a better investment. This is an excellent exercise in not only recognising a good buy versus spotting a lemon but also in being financially responsible.