Getting behind the wheel is an exciting time for your teen. It means enjoying a freedom they have never enjoyed before! It is common for your teen to want to spend a lot of time behind the wheel, and it’s common for parents to feel stressed about their teen’s newfound freedom.
Although you may never be able to eliminate your fear altogether, you can greatly reduce the anxiety you feel every time your teen sits behind the wheel. Here are a few tips that will help you trust your teen driver so you can sleep easier at night.
Actively Participate While They Study for the Test
The best way to feel better about your teen’s driving skills is to be active in the learning process. It’s the best way to know exactly what they know about driving on the road, and it’s the best way to see exactly how they react when they’re sitting behind the wheel.
That means helping them study for the test by answering practice permit questions online. Help them create flashcards, quiz them with questions, and go to the DMV to pick up a study booklet. Not only will it bring you peace of mind knowing what your child has learned, you just may brush up on your own knowledge of the road!
Let Them Drive Whenever You Go Somewhere Together
The only way to get good at driving is to practice. It doesn’t matter if your child has their permit or they have their license, give them all the practice you can by letting them drive whenever you go somewhere together.
This provides you with the ability to see exactly how they act when they’re driving, and it gives you the opportunity to practice being a good passenger. Not only will you be more relaxed the more you relinquish control to your teen, it enables you to model good passenger behavior. It also opens up the door to talk about what a driver should expect from their passengers, and how your teen should behave in the car when their friends are driving.
Consider Using Smartphone Apps
There are a lot of great cell phone apps out there to help you keep track of your child while they’re behind the wheel. For example, TrueMotion enables you to be a virtual passenger in your child’s car as they drive around town. This may be a good solution for teens who have broken the rules and want to remain behind the wheel, but they can be intrusive.
If you don’t have any reason to distrust your teen driver, consider having them download their own apps to make driving safer, and avoid parental control apps that can be offensive to your child. For example, AT&T DriveMode can silence text messages so they aren’t distracted while driving.
Set Ground Rules
No matter how good your child is, every teen needs rules for when they’re in the car. With clear expectations, you can avoid misunderstandings, miscommunications, and hurt feelings.
A few rules of the road you should consider creating with your child include:
- Ban multitasking while driving, which includes texting and making phone calls, even from mom and dad.
- Agree on the number of passengers that are allowed in the car while your child is driving.
- Make it clear exactly what time your child has to park the car in the driveway, which might mean letting them stay out later when you give them a ride.
- Agree on the circumstances when the keys can be taken away, like a failing grade.
Consider Upgrading the Technology in the Car
It seems reasonable that you wouldn’t want to get a new car for your teen because they are likely to ding and scratch it up. However, it’s actually better to get a new vehicle for a teen because new cars today have safety features, like automatic braking, that make driving safer than ever before.
Don’t have the money to buy a new vehicle for your teen? No problem! You can retroactively fit your existing car with technology that can make driving safer. For example, backup cameras can easily be installed that will alert your teen with a loud beep if something is lurking just out of sight behind the car.
You aren’t doomed to be an anxious mess while your teen practices their driving skills. Feel more confident in your teen by following these tips. You’ll sleep better at night and your teen will thank you for your trust.