One of the most terrifying parts of raising children is waiting for the day you hear those six little words–“Mom, may I borrow the car?” You want your child to be a good driver, but the thought of getting in the car with him behind the wheel is more than a little scary. Though your child may go to a formal driver’s education program, you’ll still need to spend some time teaching him how to drive. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to make it through alive.
Model good driving behavior. Your teen’s first exposure to driving is going to be from sitting in the car, watching you drive. Always follow the rules of the road. As she approaches driving age, you can talk through some of the important things, like pointing out signs or which driver has the right of way.
Quiz him on the information from the driver’s manual. Your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles offers a driver’s manual that contains the rules of the road. He’ll need to study this to pass the permit test, so quiz him on some of the details.
Take her to a low-traffic area. If possible, look for an area in your town where there is not likely to be traffic. A school parking lot on the weekend, for example, may be almost completely empty. This can be a good place to get used to the basics of starting, stopping and turning.
Hand over the wheel. Once you are in a safe place, allow her to try driving, following your instructions.
Act calm. Inside, you may be freaking out, but you’ll keep your teen calmer, if you present a calm exterior. Don’t yell at him when he makes mistakes. Give instructions in a calm manner. Try not to put your hands out to brace yourself as he stops, which can make him nervous.
Try more difficult driving as she gets more comfortable on the road. Take her to areas that have more traffic, including major city roads and highways. The more practice she has, the more confident she will be in her driving.
Talk to your teen about safety issues. He should always wear a seat belt and never drive the car under the influence. Let him know that he can always call you if he doesn’t feel safe driving. And, do NOT text or email while driving – EVER.