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Teaching Teens To Drive

Dec 28, 2007
There may be nothing more menacing and frightening than teaching teens to drive. White-knuckle adventure on the roads may not seem like your idea of a good time, but eventually you will have to break down and teach your teen to drive. Thankfully, there are safer ways to accomplish this daunting task and make it out of the adventure with your life and vehicle intact.

It's easy to take a teen on to a rural road and let him or her have at it. City driving is a lot more complex, however, and learning how to manage the various ins and outs of parallel parking, stopping, starting, and handling the general stop-and-go nature of rush hour traffic can make for hours of guaranteed headaches. To stop the insanity, it's a good idea to take it easy and ease your teen into the driving experience.

Start Slow

The teen driving adventure works best when it starts out slow and works up to some of the bigger, more challenging driving aspects. Start your teen slowly by backing out of the driveway of your home and perhaps simply driving around the block or to some sort of close location. Other options include starting off in a parking lot and allowing the teen to get a feel for the car or starting on an old, dirt road and watching the dust fly as your teen gets used to the vehicle.

Regardless of the location of the driving adventure with your teen, it's important that you practice patience and allow your new driver to gather a feel for the vehicle. A big part of driving is learning to feel the roads, the various bumps and valleys, the weather conditions, and how the car reacts to those things. If your teen begins his or her driving experience by realizing how the car reacts to different weather conditions, for example, he or she is more likely to be able to handle those conditions in important situations where safety is a priority.

Ease Into It

Try not to start your teen on parallel parking or pulling out of a slide on the first day. Teens, as we all know by now, are emotional animals and they need incessant reassurance and guidance. Whether they tell you this fact or not is certainly up for grabs, but the reality is that reassurance is one of the key components when it comes to teaching teens to drive. Alongside this reassurance are a willing spirit and a patient heart. Ease your teen into the driving experience by demonstrating acceleration techniques, braking techniques, and better ways to pay attention while driving. Most teens learn by observing first and by doing second.

Model Responsibility

A third piece of general advice when it comes to teaching teens to drive is to model responsibility on your own. If you demonstrate the type of driver that yells and curses out his or her window or puts on makeup while driving, you're probably going to wind up with a teen that will emulate the same behaviour. Instead, emulate good driving techniques at all times. Remember your shoulder checks instead of your iPod and try to keep both hands on the wheel.
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