Talking to Teens About Driving
After laying the initial groundwork with tips on teaching teens to drive in our last article, it’s time for your teen to begin logging supervised driving time. California teens with a permit must log at least 50 practice hours before going to test for a driver’s license. Jiffy Lube, your Southern California oil change neighbor, has even more tips to help both parents and teens during this exciting time:
- Talk about safety: The top three reasons for nearly half of all serious accidents involving young drivers are poor speed management, distractions, and undetected hazards. Explain the dangers of driving too fast, and how to properly navigate curves or respond to the unexpected. Warn your teen against common distractions such as other passengers, cell phones, food, music, pets, etc., and how they reduce concentration when driving. Focusing on the area directly in front of the vehicle prevents hazard detection; teach teen drivers to scan or observe roadway conditions far ahead of the vehicle.
- Develop a pre-driving routine: conduct a “cockpit check” during the first lesson to get your teen in good habits. Show them how to their adjust seatbelt, seat, and mirrors, as well as locate the hazard lights, emergency brake, heater/defroster controls, horn, headlights, and windshield wipers; take time to explain how each works. Also have your teen locate the vehicle owner’s manual and insurance/registration information.
- Obey all driving laws: teach your teen to use driving signals, follow speed limits, check blind spots, drive defensively, avoid tailgating, maintain a safe distance from other drivers, and use caution when encountering visual obstructions like curves, hills, other vehicles, or inclement weather.
- Gradually progress: when ready, allow your teen to drive in more difficult situations with higher volume traffic and different types of weather as well as at night; increase distances and driving time as well to make sure they are comfortable in a range of situations.
Continue to be a positive role model for your teen, remaining calm and courteous while obeying traffic laws and emphasizing preventative maintenance like oil change services to keep your vehicle in peak condition. Tune in next week when we conclude our series on tips for parents of licensed teens ready to drive solo.
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