Every single parent or any parent needs to make sure their child getting ready to drive has a full understanding of the rules of the road, as well as any associated consequences if those rules are not followed. Okay, let’s say you have a son or daughter getting ready to drive in about a year. While that might seem as if you have plenty of time to make decisions, the truth is you want to start planning now.
I was just thinking back on the time that my son was 15 and learning the rules of the road. During this time, he was learning to handle a car by practicing with a driving instructor. As you can imagine, I worried about one of my “babies” getting behind the wheel of a car, deeply concerned over his safety. In fact, I even thought that it might be easier if they never drove at all. However, in this day, that’s simply not a viable option.
I know it’s hard to let our children grow up but just as we did at their age, they have places to go, friends to see, and things to experience. Since driving is inevitable, the best gift we can provide is knowledge. The bottom line is that your son or daughter is going to grow up and eventually ask for the keys to the car, or perhaps just have keys to his or her own care. In either case, stopping the process is futile.
One of the first things any parent can do, of course, is practice driving with them. In fact, it might be a good idea to ride with them when they drive even after they get their license, at least for a time and in the country where no one would see. Even if you feel like yelling or taking control, you need to remain calm, not becoming a typical “back seat driver.” Instead, just be there to answer questions, offering helpful suggestions when needed. Chance are your child will feel nervous at first with you in the car but over time, relax.
I started taking my kids out into the country on flat, wide-open roads when they were 13. Yes, they were young but I guess the fact my dad did that with me, I felt it was okay. We chose isolated but safe areas and I had them practice. By the time my children had both turned 16, they were actually very comfortable with the car and are excellent drivers. They learned the basics of turning, stopping, going around curves, and so on.
Being a single parent makes things a bit tougher, because you don’t have someone to share your worries with but then again, you wouldn’t want two people sitting in the car trying to teach your child to drive. When your child does get his/her license, just remember to set good rules, which include ideas suggested by the American Automobile Association, Consumer Reports and insurance companies to include:
- Set time limits
- Set passenger limits
- Have them drive on short trips with you, even a few blocks
A teenager driving could literally be a matter of life and death, so as single parents, it’s imperative you talk to our child from the very start. Establishing trust is probably one of the biggest keys to getting through to a teenager. In fact, studies have shown that the chances of a teenager being in a crash is reduced by as much as one-third if parents take an active role in their child’s driving and set guidelines from the beginning.