How to Prepare Your Child For Getting Their Driver's License
So your teen is ready to drive. It’s an exciting time for everyone, but it can be nerve-wracking to set your child free on their own.
This new-found independence is important for a teen, but it’s also important for parents to set their kids up for success.
So, what can you do to prepare your child for getting their driver’s license?
Here are some helpful tips to get you and your teen ready to get their driver’s license.
Sit down together and decide on the ground rules of driving for the home. What are the stipulations for them being out and driving? What will their curfew be? Who is allowed to drive with them? It’s better to decide on these things together and set the expectations ahead of time so your teen knows exactly what you expect of them and what will happen if they fail to comply.
There are also state laws for teen drivers (such as curfews or passenger age limit) that you will want to check on to put in the contract or deal. Your teen may not be aware of these laws, so it’s important to review them together.
Review rules and laws
Along with age specific restrictions, you will want to make sure your teen knows all the rules of the road. Even after driving school and passing the test, there may be some things they are unclear of. Do they know what all the traffic signs mean? Or, some unspoken rules of the road that they don’t know.
Make sure to go over all of the important laws with your teen. Take them out on the road before and after the test to make sure they know the laws and are following them.
Encourage them to ask you any questions they may still have about driving. Let them know that learning to drive can be overwhelming, and it’s ok to be confused and have questions.
And make sure to cover all the rules of drinking and driving thoroughly. Teens need to know how serious the consequences of drinking and driving are.
Decide on a reliable car
A teen’s first car is their pride-and-joy, but unless you have an extremely financially savvy child, you will probably be the one paying for it.
While your teen should definitely have some say in their first car, you can have your own requirements for a car as well. Try to come to a decision together on a car they like, but one that you know will keep them safe as well.
Driving for a teen is hard enough, and they shouldn’t have to be worrying about the dependability of their vehicle while first learning to drive.
Vehicle Maintenance and Responsibilities
The shiny, plastic driver’s license can sometimes distract teens from the fact that they are actually operating a vehicle. Take the time to go over the responsibilities of driving and taking care of their car. Teach them about changing a flat tire, changing the oil, tire maintenance, and proper fluid levels. The more ownership you give them over the vehicle, the more responsibility they will feel in the upkeep.
This is a big one these days. Distracted driving-- texting or talking, daydreaming, or anything that keeps focus off of the road-- is causing an increase in teen accidents. The number one culprit of distracting teens while driving is their cell phone.
When you make your driving contract, make sure to include a section on proper use of electronics. Do you want them to turn off their phones while they drive? Do you have bluetooth that can be set up?
No matter what, stress the importance of driving distraction-free. Texts and phone calls can wait. It’s not worth losing your life over.
Drive with them and lead by example
As you drive with your teen, set the example you want them to abide by. If you are driving, dictate what you are doing, or allow your teen to ask you questions while you drive. Keep your emotions in check and model the proper behavior for focused driving. If you are on your phone while you drive, your teen will think it’s ok too.
And as they drive with you in the passenger seat, make sure to point out anything they are doing wrong (in a loving way of course). But you will want to make sure that if they are doing something incorrectly, you point it out so they don’t form bad driving habits.