First time drivers springing up in your home? Nervous about sitting in the passenger seat with your child at the wheel? Feel yourself slamming on the brakes whilst in the passenger seat? We feel you. However, it’s never a good idea to let your child smell fear. Be strong. Show no fear.
Parents: tips on how to handle your nerves dealing with your teen driver
Need some tips on preparing yourself for the trials and stress, so you don’t appear nervous as your child navigates local streets; or, the closest parking lot before releasing them into the wild local streets? No problem. We’ve your back, parents.
Set Realistic Goals
Listen, not everyone is a natural behind the wheel. Know your child, and set realistic goals. Many kids don’t know anything about cars, let alone how to operate one. A simple first goal? Short and sweet instructions. Start out small with lessons:
This is how you start the car (yes, it has to be in park and you must have your foot on the brake or the car won’t turn on when you turn the key in the ignition)
The little stick on the left side of the steering wheel, those control your blinkers. USE THEM. It lets other drivers on the road know where you’re going.
See the little stick on the right side of the steering wheel? This is to control your windshield wipers. Learn what wiper speed works best for you in the rain and snow.
Let’s turn the phone notifications off, so nothing distracts you whilst driving. You can check the phone when you have arrived at your destination and have put the car in PARK.
Provide a safe car
You don’t have to go out and buy a brand new car. Who can afford that kind of expense? Not many here on Long Island in the great state of New York. Instead, make sure the oil change is up-to-date; windshield wiper fluid is filled up to the fill line; tires have treads and have the proper air pressure in them; and, the seat belts are in working order.
Go a step further and make sure the brakes have been changed, and everything is working properly.
One thing many people forget is to check the floors of the car, making sure there’s nothing loose flying around that could get stuck under a gas or brake peddle in the car. Got a house full of tennis players, you never know if a tennis ball is floating around in the car that could make its way to the front of the car and right under the brakes. Not good.
If you're starting your lessons in the winter months, make sure to prep your car properly.
Work on your tone of voice
Keep a level voice. Calm. Cool. Collected. Never let a kid know you’re freaked out sitting in the passenger seat. Start with going to a large, open parking lot. Have them practice simple maneuvers so you can practice your “calm, soothing and supportive” voice. It’ll help them gain confidence for the open road lessons, and you’ll have practiced enough to get you through a lesson without letting him see you sweat!
Proper Insurance Coverage
Everyone knows, accidents happen. Minor ones are common when learning how to drive. It helps ease parents’ minds if they’re car insurance is up-to-date and has all the proper coverage necessary for a new teen driver in the house. Meet with your insurance agent, ask lots of questions as you review your current policy. Make the necessary updates and changes before sending your kid out into the real world.
Driving is a huge responsibility. The more prepared you are as a parent, the more it’ll help prepare your teen driver. We want confident drivers on the roads, not nervous Nellies. You can do this! So can your teen.