Be a Great Driving Instructor for Your Teen
The parent-child relationship can make the teaching process a little complicated at times, so keep these ideas in mind when it's time to help your teen develop his driving skills:
- Prepare to be a good teacher. A study by the Allstate Foundation found many parents are unfamiliar with Graduated Driver Licensing laws and aren't aware of the leading causes of crashes involving teens.
- Use routes he knows initially. Gradually introduce less familiar roads as he gains experience and confidence. Point out any challenges the road may present before the lesson begins.
- Look for teaching moments during your drive. Identifying other drivers tailgating is a good example. Emphasize that being a defensive driver who anticipates potential dangers is key to safe driving.
- Don't point out every small mistake. Correct potentially serious errors immediately, but make note of lesser mistakes and review the lesson with him later so he can focus on driving. Invite him to offer his own suggestions on ways to improve.
- Resist the temptation to give too much advice. No driver likes a nonstop lecture, even a new one. Deliver any advice in a calm tone.
- Draw on personal experience. Relating a lesson you've learned or something you've seen as a driver can be a good way to teach your teen good driving skills.
- Get someone else involved. A spouse, family member or friend also can share their experiences and help teach skills, so remember you don't have to be the only teacher.
- Give credit for a job well done. Every driver has room for improvement when he starts driving, so look for things your child did right behind the wheel. Positive reinforcement is a powerful teacher.
Prepared by George Palatine, Allstate Auto Insurance company, Northbrook, Ill.