Parents teach their kids a wide variety of skills and abilities. It’s a responsibility that many are eager to uphold. From learning how to read to do the house chores, parents want to see their children learn and become good citizens. And with how common cars have become, even driving is another skill that many parents want to impart. Driving responsibly is a critical skill that needs to be taught, and here’s how you can do it:
Make sure you are fit to drive.
Make your child see that you proactively avoid driving when you are not feeling well, have consumed alcohol, or are even particularly emotional at the moment.
Check your vehicle before going for a drive.
Involve your kid in the process of checking your car for faults or anything out of the ordinary before going for a ride. Let them know that this is a part of the trip and a part of owning a car.
Make a pre-driving routine.
After checking the vehicle, once you’re inside it, buckle up, adjust your mirrors, and make sure you have everything you need already set up before starting the car. Establish this routine and watch your teen mirror it when it’s their turn to be the designated driver.
Plan your trips ahead of time.
Whether it’s a doctor’s appointment, a road trip, or a trip to the grocery, make it a point to plan it ahead of time so your child can also pick up on it. This isn’t to say that you should always sound like you’re in a hurry, or that you must adhere to a set schedule in a stifling manner. Modeling good habits should be done in a more positive light, not out of fear of punishment.
Eliminate Digital Distractions
One of the major sources of distractions among teens is their gadgets. “Fear Of Missing Out”, or FOMO as the teens call it, is not only present in their generation, but also older generations. The need to pick up your phone and check your socials to see what your friends are up to can be a huge distraction, and you absolutely must not be distracted while behind the wheel. This applies both while driving and even during a stoplight or traffic jam. To avoid this, you can put your phone on silent and into your glove box in the meantime.
Preparedness Means A Whole Lot
Of course, gadgets aren’t the only cause of distraction for a driver. To be a good role model, it’s best to truly be aware of the road, what’s ahead of you, as well as the rest of your car’s surroundings. The best way to do this is to always be prepared before driving. Part of preparing ahead of time is setting up your GPS, setting your radio or music playlist, eating a snack or quick meal so you won’t get hungry, going to the toilet to do business so you won’t have to pull over in awkward places, and grooming or doing your makeup, all before leaving your driveway.
Your teenager might say that you’re not cool for being so uppity about driving and avoiding distractions, but it’s much better than trying to look cool at the expense of your and your family’s safety.
Always Lead By Example
How do you deal with road rage? What do you do when an upset driver cuts you off and even flips you on the road? Especially in the presence of impressionable youth, you wouldn’t want to show immaturity, violence, or irresponsibility. When it’s your teen’s turn to learn how to drive, they’re very likely to mimic your attitude because you are who they see driving most of the time.
Teach Them About Consequences
If it so happens that your child has gotten themself into a traffic violation, know the story from them firsthand, and assess whether they are in the right or wrong. As young as they are, it’s inevitable for them to make mistakes, but teach them right and trust that they will do the right thing. Whether they are in the right or wrong, use this situation as a teachable moment for them.
You can show them the consequences of violating traffic rules, and also let them know what they should do to legally protect themselves in these situations. Experienced criminal defense attorneys can assist in cases like this, and it’s best to coordinate with legal professionals before making any decisions.
Driving is a skill that many people will have to eventually learn. As parents, it’s best to guarantee the safety and well-being of our children. Even with skills like driving, we need to do our best to teach them the right way.