Learning to drive is one of the most exciting times in a teenager’s life thanks to the sense of freedom and independence. It can also be a very scary time with visions of horrific wrecks and a Bay Area car accident law firm in the back of their minds.
Being new to driving and dealing with traffic, bad weather conditions, or other nerve-racking situations can be intimidating to say the least. That’s aside from the fear of financial burdens that come with accidents, especially with a teenager’s income. Here’s a few tips on how to teach a scared teenager to drive.
1. Get Them Familiar With Driving a Vehicle
Of course, getting your teenager familiar with driving doesn’t mean actually letting them drive. It simply means introducing them ahead of time with the workings of driving a car. While the engine is off, let them sit behind the wheel and get accustomed to the feel of the steering wheel, where the controls are, and the names of the different car parts and what they do.
2. Enroll Them In a Driving Course
One of the best ways to overcome nervousness about driving is education. Not only will your teenager be more confident, but they will have the real-life driving skills to go along with it. Your teen will learn the ins-and-outs of safety regulations, driving laws, and how to be a more aware and comfortable driver. Studies show teens are safer drivers after taking a driving course.
3. Take Them Somewhere Safe To Practice
Perhaps the best way to overcome a fear of driving is to practice. This doesn’t mean hitting the highway for a teenager’s first lesson. Take the car for a short drive around the neighborhood, or even practice in an empty parking lot. Consistency is key when learning any new skill, so try to practice as much as time allows. With each practice your teen will become more confident.
4. Keep the Stress Level Down and Be an Example
As anxious as you’re feeling about your teenager driving, they’re probably feeling the stress much more. It’s important for you to stay calm and in control at all times, not only as a comfort to your teen, but also to teach them healthy attitudes towards driving. Stress management will come in handy in the future when they find themselves running late or in heavy traffic.
5. Let Them Try Driving on Different Road Conditions and in Different Weather
New drivers might not have so much anxiety on a beautiful summer afternoon, but what about in a heavy downpour or a snow storm? Make sure you allow your teen to get the feel of driving a vehicle in inclement weather, but do it safely. Again, take them on a less busy road or in a parking lot. Make sure they know how to work wipers and four-wheel-drive if available.
6. Be Prepared
The best things you can do to help a scared teenager learn to drive is prepare them through practice and education. Not only will they feel more comfortable and at ease with driving, but you will save yourself lots of worry knowing that you helped get them ready for the open road. Doing these things ahead of time, will create a better driver in the future.