There are a number of useful resources related to defensive driving, which can assist you in making your teenager a better driver. Most are contain a few useful bits of information and are links for professional driving schools. One free site which is an excellent source of information is the website for the National Safety Council. An especially good tip that they offer, is sharing the old adage that “practice makes perfect”. The more actual experience your teen has behind the wheel, the more comfortable they will be with the way the car responds to their steering and braking movements, and the less likely they will be to have an accident.
So what else can do you need to do to make your teenager a better driver?
- Teach them to assume the worst—that every other driver on the road is a moron (which quite often they are). If they learn to expect bad driving, they will be prepared to react properly when confronted with it.
- Teach them to always maintain what I call a “cushion of comfort”. Drive down any highway or street and you will see that almost all drivers tailgate. Teach your kids not only to stay a safe distance behind the vehicle in front, but to try to keep open space on both sides and to the rear. By maintaining this “cushion of comfort” you instill the habits of checking rear view and side mirrors regularly, of constantly being aware of what other drivers are doing, and of possible escape routes in an emergency.
- Instill in them this concept: “when you are driving, you just drive! You don’t eat a burger, sip a soda, or talk on your cell phone.” Every activity they engage in other than driving is a distraction, and the greater the distraction, the greater the chance of an accident.
- When are stopped at a red light, teach them to hesitate a second or two after the light turns green in order to check both ways for approaching traffic. Approximately 10% of all fatal accidents occur when someone runs a red light.
- Teach them to brake and steer around obstacles. Most drivers, who see a threat in front of them, will just apply brakes. With anti-lock brakes, cars don’t skid. This sometimes allows you to steer around the obstacle in your path, rather than just run into it.
These are just a few ideas of what you can do to teach your teenager a better driver. It is scary to see your kid out on the road for the first time. Just remember to teach them the best you know how and not to stress out that first night they don’t come home on time. They are teenagers after all.