One moment you were sharing magical stories sprinkled with fairy dust, and now they are grown up literally taking the wheel to their own life. If your teen is learning how to drive, there are a few safety skills you can instil in them that they will never forget well into adulthood. We have gathered five safety tips to teach your teen on how to become a safe driver.
Expose them before they get exposed
Their main concern right now may not be safety, but getting independence and looking cool behind the wheel. However, this is a huge factor for you since 33% of Australian teens have a car crash within the first 12 months of driving. Take the opportunity when they still have their L plate to expose them to various driving conditions and terrain. Teach them how to drive down an open road. Ask them to drive you around at night or peak hour so they can get a realistic sense of what it is like to drive. Try teaching them how to drive on a rainy day. This will teach them how to be alert and how to apply the brakes in different situations. Without these essential skills, they can be exposed one day and end up causing an accident.
Be clear with instructions
Remember when you felt tense behind the wheel for the first time, and you had anxieties of making a mistake? Having you beside them could either make them sweat like a monkey which is not good for concentration or could work in favour of them depending on how you communicate. Teens who are learning to drive sometimes only focus on the first two cars in front of them, while you as an experienced driver know that you should look ahead for traffic lights, hazards, signs and so forth. Tell them to be careful of the roadblock up ahead, rather than shouting “Be careful!” Encourage them by complimenting their driving safety skills they implement without you telling them.
Be a role model
As human’s we are visual beings and we learn by watching others do what we want to do. As a parent, you are your teen’s role model when it comes to safety. If you don’t use any safety rules like putting on a seat belt before you take off, using your phone while you drive, and fiddling with the radio to find those sweet tunes, they are most likely not to do so too. If you take unauthorised cuts, and change lanes on the road they will too. If that has been the case, you still have a chance to fix this with them. Perhaps in the process of teaching, you too will learn a few things.
Choosing the right car
When it comes to teens choosing a car safety is probably not the number one thing on their mind. Instead, they want a car that looks good, can take them from A to B without relying on mom and dad and has a cool sound system to blast their tunes. You on the other hand still have the power to decide. Whether you are paying cash, or speaking to a financial advisor for a car loan that has competitive interest rates, you will have the final say. You will have to check if it’s safe or economical. Choose a car that is appropriate and easy to drive for their age instead of overwhelming them.
Insure, Insure, Insure
Take out insurance to keep you and your loved ones protected on the road. You can speak to your insurer to see if your insurance policy automatically covers a learner driver that is being taught by a parent. If you have a compulsory green slip only as cover then it is advisable that you upgrade, it to comprehensive insurance by speaking to an accredited financial provider who will ensure that you drive away with the best deal.