OMG! It’s that time! The very idea of helping your children learn how to drive strikes fear into the hearts of many parents. Worries about putting a teen behind the wheel of one of the family’s most expensive and dangerous possessions are real and tangible. We all want the best for our children, and one of the most precious gifts you can give them is the gift of teaching them how to be safe and experienced once they get behind the wheel. A safe teen driver will allow you peace of mind, give them freedom and confidence, and hopefully prevent your family from experiencing costly claims for injuries and/or property damage. If you are embarking on the process of teaching your first teen to drive then there are some things you should know about.
1. Plan ahead. When you start working behind the wheel, know ahead of time where you are going and what you are going to do.
2. Be a good coach. Your role as a driver’s parent is to coach your teen through the basics of driving. Avoid talking down to your teen or getting upset. Praise good performance.
3. Start slow and build up. When you start out with your teen, go to an empty parking lot and spend a lot of time starting, stopping and turning. When the teen is comfortable there, move on to a quiet residential area with fewer cars. The next move is onto streets with heavier traffic.
4. Be constantly aware. Take the time to emphasize that. Safe driving starts with being aware of your surroundings.
5. Keep the first lessons short. The number of times you drive with your teen is more important than the amount of time in each session. In the beginning, limit your practice time to 15 to 20 minutes at a time. As your teen’s confidence increases, you can extend practice times.
6. Set a good example. Be patient enough to provide constructive feedback to your teen. And when you’re driving, certainly be a good role model. Show the driving habits you want your son or daughter to exhibit.
7. Emphasize NO talking on the mobile phone nor texting. This may be parents’ biggest challenge since young people have grown up with their mobile devices and seem to rely on them all hours of the day or night. It only takes one lapse or distraction to cause tragic circumstances. I followed all of these steps with my daughter when she was learning to drive and she turned out to be a safe and considerate driver. Make sure you ask your insurance agent what type of discounts they offer for students (i.e. high GPA, Dean’s List, etc.). Some insurance companies also allow discounts for students who successfully complete a driver’s education program and can provide written proof of completion.
The bottom line is we want our new teen drivers to be safe when they hit the mean streets. There are many distractions, especially in the Las Vegas area. Moving violations and accidents with teen drivers can cause your auto insurance rates to skyrocket. I wish you all the patience and success with this very important task! As always, please call our law firm should you or your family member receive a traffic ticket or get in contact with one of our Las Vegas car accident attorneys. Our traffic ticket administrative fees are usually $50 (there are exceptions) and auto accident consultations are always free. Thank you very much for your referrals!