The spring brings an increase in new student drivers. As school comes to a break, students transition into drivers education classes. They utilize the summer months to practice driving and planning for their drivers test. As your teen heads into drivers training, how can you better prepare them for safe and successful driving habits? Enrolling them into a beginner driving school is not enough.
Work with them after class
While many parents practice actual driving with their teens, few actually go over the educational materials. The knowledge behind driving is just as important as the actual and physical act of driving. About 56% of teens rely on their parents to learn how to drive. This means that it is also your responsibility to teach them about the rules of the road. You have all of the materials that the beginner driving school provides and you can work off of those to study proper driving rules and habits. Traffic lessons should include specialized driving situations, regular driving rules, and the laws of the road.
Practice driving at different times
Although beginner driving schools give great hands on experience, they tend to be at the same time of the day. If your teen is enrolled in a beginner driving school course in the morning, they are likely to only be exposed to morning driving. It is important that they get experience with driving at all times of the day and evening. In addition to the driving classes on road experiences, you can practice driving with your teen. Allow them to run errands in the morning. Encourage them to drive to lunch in the afternoon. Teach them to drive in the dark, when the roads are more difficult to see.
Practice driving on unique roads
Another area that driving courses do not expose teens to is unique road conditions. If the driving school is located in a suburban city, for example, the teen will only practice driving in that area. At some point, they should gain experience driving in different areas, including downtown and metropolitan areas, and on rural roads. Drivers who reported living in the country or a small town drive greater distances (12,264 miles annually) and spend a greater amount of time driving than people who described living in a medium sized town or city (9,709 miles annually). With these two cities having significantly different driving situations, it is important that teens are exposed to both.
Driving in all weather types
When your teen is learning to drive, you might be tempted to only allow them on the road when the sun is shining and the temperatures are high. With beginner and adult driving classes only lasting a couple of months, your teen may never be exposed to winter driving conditions, until they have their license. You do not want them to experience the difficult road conditions of winter weather when they are driving alone. They will be safer and learn proper driving techniques in these poor weather conditions with you by their side. Do not allow your teen to obtain their license until they have experience driving in all types of weather conditions. In their first year on the road, teens are almost 10 times more likely to be in crash. The more time you spend with them on these unique driving situations, the less likely they are to be involved in an auto crash.
Many teens will enroll in beginner driving school classes this summer. Within a couple of months into the summer, there will be an increase of teens on the road. As new drivers experience higher auto accident rates, it is important that you provide them with the necessary driving skills and knowledge to be safe on the road. In addition to the beginner driving class, you should regularly study the educational materials together. You can also increase their safe driving habits by exposing them to a variety of driving situations, including different road conditions, poor weather conditions, and different times of the day.