It’s natural for your children to want some more independence once they hit 16, and getting their L’s and learning to drive could be top of their wish list right now. Let’s face it; the thought of no longer being their free, on-call taxi driver is quite appealing too. But teaching your kids to drive can feel terrifying. Take these steps to make the journey run as smoothly (literally) as possible.
Choose a suitable car
If you’re in a position where you can buy your child their very own car, consider purchasing the vehicle for lessons - so they can get comfortable with their vehicle. The Toyota Yaris is definitely one to consider, having long been a car chosen by professional driving schools in Sydney thanks to its reliability and ease of driving.
Communicate expectations beforehand
Before your teen even gets behind the wheel, it’s important to discuss the things they need to be aware of. Explain that it’s not just them on the road; other drivers are often distracted and it’s important to be alert at all times. Study the rules of the road with your child, and explain why you do the things you do, when they’re a passenger in your car. This way, they can start to get familiar with how they should react to certain roads, signs or situations.
Arrange lessons with a qualified driving instructor
There’s really no substitute for professional instruction. Qualified teachers know the simplest ways to explain things to young drivers, and it’s possible that you’ve picked up bad driving habits along the way that you could pass onto your children.
Consider arranging paid lessons right off the bat, and use your own parent-child lessons as more of a complement to these lessons. You’ll feel more confident jumping into the driver’s seat knowing your child has a few hours of professional lessons under their belt.
Drive on quiet roads or car parks
The best place to initially learn to drive is in a quiet car park, during the day time, with few other cars around. This scenario allows your child to get a feel for the car - understanding the pressure that’s needed on the pedals and how to carry out an emergency stop. Start slow; show them where everything is located, how to adjust their mirrors, check their blind spots, and ensure the seat is in the optimal position.
No matter how nervous you are, showing your teenager this just tells them you have little trust in them, which can lead to a cycle of arguments and make for a tense driving situation. Try to put yourself in their shoes; remember that although driving may be second nature to you, these processes are probably completely new to your child. Answer all of their questions clearly, no matter how silly they may seem to you.
Offer regular encouragement when they do something right, and calmly instruct them to stop the car anytime you need to explain something in detail.
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