Teach Parents to Be Teachers
Becoming A Driving Teacher
It is important for parents to know that they have been teaching their kids how to drive for years just by setting the example. As soon as children are placed in forward-facing car seats, they observe the actions and reactions of their parents as drivers. Encourage parents to take stock of their driving habits and to indentify and address any negative behaviors. Now is the time to improve with the goal of becoming better teachers.
Provide parents with topics they should be raising with their kids beginning around age 12. Encourage them to talk about cell phones, seat belts, speeding, passengers, peer pressure and drowsy driving, and other factors that may affect their children's safety.
Parents should be encouraged to sit down with their teens and to write out a list of agreed upon house rules, all of which should be specific and for a purpose. Both should understand the rule, the reasoning behind it, and the consequence(s) if the rule is broken. Parents should be reminded that this is not about controlling their teens, but rather, keeping them safe. They should allow their teens to have a say and to ask questions if they think something isn’t fair. It's also good to encourage the use of a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement. These agreements act as contracts between parents and teens and list many areas to consider.
Getting Behind the Wheel
Professional lessons are a great start, and a listing of trusted local driving schools should be made available to parents. But driving schools can’t cover the complete spectrum of situations teens will face on the road. Parents still have to ensure their teens receive varied experience in different conditions. Learn more about what parents need to know.