What often runs through the mind of a parent of a new driver is this: “how can I help my teen’s driving improve, so I don’t have to worry whenever he or she is behind the wheel?”
Since AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety has told us that the leading cause for new driver accidents is inexperience, we’re not surprised parents get a bit nervous handing over their car keys.
Thankfully, the right driving instruction and regular practice on the roads can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. So, what can you do to confidently instruct your teen to be a safer driver?
HOW TO HELP
Throughout your teen’s learning curve, you need to know how to lend a helping hand. Very Well Family has even more tips for parents and young drivers who are getting started.
Having a plan in mind before starting the engine will make you and your teen feel more comfortable and confident driving together. Let your teen know the “root” (whoops, we mean the “route”) you’ll be driving and the types of skills to be practiced.
Remember, You’re the Coach
The basics of driving for your teen can start and end with you as a parent/coach. Good coaches don’t talk down, get upset, or casually break laws for teens who are watching their example. So, try not to comment with, “You’re not paying attention” and instead, try to be specific with your advice, “Make sure you shoulder check when you’re merging or changing lanes”. And don’t forget to praise good performance (it’s like leaving a good tip)!
Guide Them with Questions
It’s easy to put on your Captain cap, but asking a question like, “Is this a school zone?” will go further than yelling, “Slow down or you’ll get a ticket!”. Your teen will be more conscious of their surroundings when asked questions, so they can feel in control when they answer.
Work Your Way Up
An empty parking lot and plenty of time to maneuver around it, are two ingredients for a healthy start to your teen’s driving career. Next up would be a quiet residential neighbourhood and then after that - a roadway with heavier traffic.
Are You Directionally-Challenged?
Advanced notice is always nice for anything (especially when you’ve got visitors coming for dinner). Your teen is the same way. Try to anticipate your directions by saying, “You’ll be turning right at the next set of lights” instead of “Turn right now”. Remember to spread the love with some, “Great job!” or “That was right.”
Attention for teens is short enough as it is, so limit your practice time to 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Take them driving in good weather and during daylight hours. As confidence takes flight, so should your practice time.
“Tough love can be good, and so can tough road conditions. Snow, rain, and ice will prepare your teen when they’re out driving on their own,” Johnathon Ehsani, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Center for Injury Research and Policy, said after a study of driver learners,
“Parents should encourage and supervise practice driving in more varied environments, and not fall into the habit of accumulating practice hours just driving in routine conditions to places they already know.”
Use a Driving Monitoring Device
Ever noticed that your teen drives better when you’re around? Making a phone call or sending a text while driving is a lot harder when someone is sitting beside you.
That’s why Carrot’s tech is useful for new drivers to stay focused on the road, even when parents aren’t along for the ride.
(If you’re wondering about Telematics, learn more here)
Lastly, we all need to recognize that mistakes happen , from a runaway car on America’s Funniest Home Videos to leaving the water dripping on vacation . Often, the only way teens can improve is if they make the mistake and learn from it. So, the next time your teen bumps into the curb or bangs the bumper (hopefully not!), gently show them how they can correct and stay positive (remember, they’re watching your example).
P.S. While accidents seldom seem humorous perhaps you have an example where, in hindsight, you can smile a bit. In that case, let us know on Facebook!
The CDC has 8 “Danger Zones” they outline that parents should watch out for.
A HEALTHY REVIEW
A lot of parents can feel helpless when trying to help their teens driving.
One common reason is that it can be difficult to monitor driving behaviour, and what’s happening when a parent isn’t present. This is where Carrot can be useful: Carrot uses Telematics (tracking technology) that builds a New Driver Scorecard based on driving habits. This tells parents where their teen could use some help.
If you’re looking for some tech to nudge your new driver in the right direction, Get Started with Carrot.
HOW DO I GET CARROT?
It’s as easy to use as 1,2,3, ABC: by enrolling with InsureMy, connecting your vehicle to the Drive With Carrot App, buckling up, and hitting the road!
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