Stress and Teen Driving

Teaching your teen to drive can be a fun yet stressful time for both of you. Your teen is eager to get on the road, while you are hesitant to let them take the wheel. Your teen being on the road is scary – we get it. Follow these simple guidelines to make the next driving lesson easier on everyone.

Give an overview of the vehicle.

Start with the basics. Make sure your teen can adjust the seat, steering wheel and mirrors to suit their needs. Go over each of the controls in the car, particularly the windshield wipers, turn signals, emergency lights and emergency break.

Keep your emotions in check.

You may think that you are staying calm, but your teen might not see it that way. It may be hard to keep from raising your voice, but it’s important to stay calm so you don’t startle your teen, or spark any additional anxiety.

Practice different skills in various environments.

Start with a driving lesson in a place with very little traffic, like an empty parking lot. Begin by teaching the basics such as parking, turning and how to brake. Teach them how to survey their surroundings for potential hazards and how to react to different scenarios. Once your teen gets better acquainted with driving, expose them to different driving scenarios including highways, back roads and congested streets.

Model positive driving skills.

Research has found that teens often model their parents’ behavior behind the wheel. Your teen will probably be paying closer attention to your own driving now, so make sure you’re setting a good example. It is especially important to never text and drive, and to stress the importance of avoiding electronics altogether while on the road. Consider taking an extra step by having your child take a safe driving pledge.

Consider driving school.

Sending your teen to a local driving school is a great way to gain extra reassurance that he or she is learning as much as they can in order to become a safe driver. These programs are often covered by your car insurance provider and could possibly decrease your insurance rates.

If approached the right way, teaching your teen how to drive can be a great bonding experience that neither one of you will forget. Remember to explore all options, but most importantly: take a deep breath, keep calm and continue to guide your teen down the road to success.