Time does run fast! All of a sudden your kids are not kids anymore. Instead of asking for toy cars they might be asking for your car keys. Pushing you around to teach them how to drive.
This is a sensitive situation; basically, we all want our kids to grow into great human beings, free and smart to make their decisions, but it is also pretty hard to let go. We want to protect them, sometimes excessively.
When it comes to teaching our teens how to drive it is essential to leave aside the emotional part and understand that we are an instructor and not a parent. We need to be patient and comfortable. Otherwise, it could turn out frustrating for the apprentice.
Here are some basic tips you can use, to teach your teen, friend or relative, how to drive, while avoiding in the process, not only arguments and frustration but also scratching or damaging your car.
Before Hitting the Road
It is crucial for new drivers to understand that driving is a responsibility and not a privilege and a good driver not only has good control of the car and its surroundings but also has -at least-, basic knowledge of the car, its components, controls and the way it works.
Go over the owner’s manual and driver’s manual, look for important mechanical devices, car controls, basic tools, spare tire and where are located the fluid reservoirs.
Turn the car on and off a couple of times. Fasten your seatbelts, adjust the mirrors and seats, release the brake, start the ignition, put the car in gear, etc. Then, reverse the process.
Review the controls for windshield wipers, headlights, hazard lights, turn signals, and other items.
Choose a Spot
Before going into the streets, practice driving on a free traffic zone. An empty parking lot or a dead-end neighborhood street might be good options. Practice basic skills so the apprentice gains control of the car.
Not doing so, and practicing straight away on a road might end up in frustration for the apprentice and will be hard for you to distinguish between lack of skill or simply route pressure.
Accelerate and decelerate so that it is smooth and even. Practice changing gears if it is a manual transmission car. Make left and right turns. Back the car in an open space and then towards a target, like a cone or a painted line.
Parking. No panick!
Parking can be very tricky and frustrating. Before practicing parking, make the driver get comfortable with where the sides and back of the car are. Try parallel parking next to a curb or painted line. Then, try to park in the marked spaces.
Plan a Route. An easier one.
Once the new driver feels comfortable and in control of the car, you can try hitting low traffic roads. Think before a course that simulates his or her daily routes, but relatively free of obstructions.
First, inspect the circuit with the apprentice as a passenger. Try to drive out loud, explaining everything you are doing and why you are doing it. Demonstrate proper driving technique and adhere to the rules even more than usual.
Practice staying on the right side of the lane. Leave space, signal, do not speed, and avoid berating other drivers. A good rule of thumb is being able to see the wheels of the car in front.
Encourage your apprentice to make judgments about what traffic will do and how to respond to it. Discuss road hazards and what to do about them.
Go out the first few times in daylight and in mild weather. Work up gradually to more involve driving situations, such as freeways, inclement weather, and heavy traffic.
Be Patient and Understanding
Most of all, remember that probably you have been driving for quite a long time now, and everything that seems obvious and automatic to you is a completely strange world for the apprentice.
Stay calm, be patient and supportive with your student, avoid arguments and enjoy the process of learning.