It can be a nerve-wracking experience, your teen, who you raised from a baby is now ready to traverse the roadways, and you aren’t sure if he or she is prepared. While they may be mature enough to handle the responsibility and may have finished driver’s ed, you are just not convinced that it is time for he or she to take to the road. Here are some ways you can be sure if your teenager is ready to drive down the streets of your town.
It is second nature to you to know where everything in your car is, but your teen does not have the years of experience driving that you have obtained. The first thing that you should do before taking to the road is to know where all the essential equipment is in your vehicle. Your teen probably knows about the break and gas pedals, but may not know how to adjust the side mirrors or how to use the wash feature with the windshield wipers. Here is a list of all the things your teen should know how to operate the vehicle before taking to the road:
Your teen should also be able to understand what the warning lights mean on the dashboard; a key can usually be found in the owner’s manual or online.
That empty grocery store parking lot down the street you’ve been complaining about is now your ally. It is the perfect place to let your teen drive slowly.
Your teen can get a feel for applying the gas and breaks, and if you have a manual transmission, your son or daughter can learn how to shift gears in the parking lot.
With all those empty parking spaces around you can teach your teen how to park. If you have cones available to you, use them in the adjacent parking spaces to simulate parked cars.
An empty parking lot is also a perfect place to have your teen drive in rain, fog, or snow. The parking lot will provide safety the roads can’t as they learn how to turn into a slide. After a few times practicing in the parking lot, your teen will be ready for the next steps.
Staring out in low traffic areas like your neighborhood is a wise idea. Start below the speed limit; your teen may not have the reaction time yet to react when an animal or child runs out in front of them.
After being on the road at a slower speed a few times gradually increase the speed your teen drives at until they are driving at the speed limit. Be sure that there is an understanding of what the different traffic signs are and what they mean. After your teen has learned the basics like merging into traffic and how to be a defensive driver you can move on to more advanced roadways.
Getting on the on-ramp to the interstate or a highway can be intimidating to a teen, but if you have prepared them, panic won’t set in. Make sure they know how to accelerate until their speed matches the traffic they will be merging with as they get on the interstate or highway. Once your teen has had the first eighteen-wheeler blow past, he or she will feel less anxiety when the next one comes along.
Before you let your teen drive alone make sure of the following:
Once you have decided your teen is able to drive alone, you can take solace in the fact that you have prepared her or him for the challenges of being on the road.
Don Westerfeld has been active in the field of Insurance and Financial Planning since 1997. Don grew up in Indiana later moving to Lakeland Florida where he continues to reside with his wife and children. When he’s not in the office you can find him enjoying the great outdoors. He has served on several charitable business and non-profit organizations and continues to provide guidance, advice and support to local charities.
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