Few things in life are as stressful as teaching a teenager how to drive. We should know. We’ve conducted countless hours of research to create our state-approved online driver ed courses.
Many teens are eager to get behind the wheel, but parents are often a little more hesitant. They know the freedom of a driver’s license comes with a lot of responsibility and safety risks. But instructing your teen driver as you sit in the passenger seat with a death grip on the center console is part of the process.
Here’s our top advice how to survive teaching a teen to drive without losing your cool.
Do a Thorough Vehicle Safety Check
With a new driver behind the wheel you’ll want to minimize risk as much as possible. That means making sure your vehicle is in tip top condition. Fewer mechanical issues makes it easier for you to focus and less stressful for teens to learn safe driving techniques.
Start Small. . . Very Small
Begin by teaching your teen the basics - even though they’ll probably want to run before they learn how to crawl. Show them where all the pedals and gauges are, demonstrate basic driving techniques and then let them test it out. Focus first on the fundamentals like putting the car in reverse/drive/park, coming to a stop and making a turn. As their skills improve you can slowly progress to more difficult driving techniques.
Pick a Tame Training Route
Doing a few test drives in a vacant parking lot on a weekend is much less stressful than speeding down a four-lane freeway. Another good place to start teaching a teen to drive is your neighborhood. The maximum speed limit is typically low, and your teen should be familiar with the area.
Time It Right
Another way to avoid unnecessary stress and distractions is to pick a time for the driving lesson when there are fewer people on the road and you’re mentally prepared.
- Avoid rush hour at all costs.
- No matter what hour it is, avoid lessons whenever you or your teen are fatigued, hungry or otherwise emotional.
- Keep driving lessons short (about 30 minutes) so your teen stays focused.
Turn Off Your Cell Phones
Distracted driving is a major cause of car accidents. Both the driver and parental passenger should turn their phones off so you don’t get distracted by calls and text messages.
Take Breaks as Needed
We all have stress limits, and once they’re reached it’s better to take a break than to try and power through it. Get out of the car and do something else for a few minutes as a distraction. You can also use this time to get behind the wheel and show your teen driver proper techniques.
Help Teens Learn Online Before They Get Behind the Wheel
At Aceable we take some of the stress off of parents by teaching teens safe driving techniques and the rules of the road before they get behind the wheel. Our interactive online drivers ed courses are delivered via a mobile app. It’s a method that’s proven effective for teaching teens to drive using videos, pop-up questions and practice tests. The online courses also come in handy for parents that want to brush up on their own driving skills.
Getting anxious and stressed out during driving lessons can be counterproductive for your teen driver. Instead, you can feel more confident about your teen’s driving skills by making sure they complete a training course and get their learner’s permit before you practice.