Talking to Your Kids About Common and Fatal Mistakes That Teen Drivers Make

Learning to drive is a major milestone for teens, one of the first significant steps into maturity and adulthood. Driving gives a sense of freedom and independence, no longer being tied down to a particular neighborhood. The barrier of distance has been broken down; the endless possibilities of exploration now lay wide open. Of course, this freedom comes with heavy responsibilities. Some teens are sadly unable to handle these responsibilities at such a young age and fall into unsafe practices on the road, endangering both themselves and those around them. Be sure to talk to your kids about these driving mistakes and how to avoid them.

Bringing up this subject is often difficult for parents. You may feel like your kids aren’t listening, view you as uncool, or fail to take the conversation seriously. In spite of all this, it is important to have this conversation. Try to avoid staging the situation [Read more…]

How Well Do Driving Schools Prepare Teens for the Road?

Parents are naturally concerned when their kids inexplicably become teenagers
(weren’t they just in diapers?!) and start clamoring for a driver’s license. And since
most parents don’t have the constitution to withstand driving lessons without turning
their teens into nervous wrecks (kicking the floorboards on the passenger side like they
can slow the vehicle with a phantom brake pedal), the obvious alternative is to send
kids off to driving schools where all of the instructors appear to exist in a preternatural
state of calm. But you may be asking yourself, against your better judgment, whether or
not these schools adequately prepare your teen for the road (I say against your better
judgment because if you deem the driving school to be substandard, the alternative may
be that you have to teach your child to drive). So here’s the skinny on what most driving
schools will deliver when it comes to putting your teen behind the wheel.

In truth, it depends on the venue. If your child is able to take a driver’s education
course offered by his high school, he is likely to receive more comprehensive instruction
than the average driving school offers. This is because he will receive extensive lessons
in the classroom setting before heading out in a vehicle. These lessons will likely cover
information that will be on the written test (since most students must get a driving permit
before they are allowed to operate a vehicle), as well as some videos (does anyone else
remember the “crash” video? – my teacher threw a chair down the aisle and scared the
heck out of everyone). AAA also offers a fairly academic course that includes 30 hours
in the classroom and 6-10 hours of lessons on the road (although it is rather expensive,
even [Read more…]

Establishing Rules of the Road for Your Teen

The process of teaching your teenager to drive can be a complicated one, with a lot
of moving parts, so to speak. There are a lot of different facets of the responsible driving
experience, and as a responsible parent you always want to make sure you cover all of
your bases, and then some. You might be lucky, and have your children enrolled in a
school that teaches driver’s education as part of its regular curriculum, or you’ve enrolled
your child in a driver’s ed course outside of school. Either way, each teenager is required
to attend a class, study a book, and receive a certain number of hours’ worth of behind-
the-wheel practice with a certified instructor. These methods aren’t always enough,
however, to get your teenager as used to the road as he or she should be before setting
out to get that license, and that’s what the learner’s permit is for. You’ll have a chance
to drive with your teen for about six months before he or she is eligible for a driver’s
license, and that’s your chance to really make sure your teenager is absolutely familiar
with the rules of the road.

It’s important to keep in mind how stressful driving can be when you’re first doing it.
You know your teen best, so you know his or her tendencies towards nervousness, and
you can always gauge how they’re doing behind the wheel in the moment. Keep an eye
on how your teen is doing, and make sure that your advice or direction isn’t presented
in such a way that startles [Read more…]