The course your teen takes towards becoming a driver determines how safe they will be on the road. Teen driving schools don’t need to be the only place that your teen learns how to drive. Help by exhibiting good driving etiquette for your children, starting at a young age.
“You have to start off when they’re probably 13-years-old,” said mother of teens Patty Robinson Smith. “You lead by example.”
One of the most important ways to demonstrate driving skills is by eliminating interaction with cell phones in the car. Cell phones are the biggest contributor to driver error, especially for teens. Teen texting while driving makes the risk of crashing 43 times more likely. Make sure your teens know that it’s okay for them to have cell phones in the car, but that using that phone in any way while driving is not okay.
Parent coach and author Jamee Tenzer, PCC, recommends a hands-on approach to helping your teen driver.
“Drive with your teen often. Drive with your teen until you feel completely comfortable with their ability to drive,” Tenzer said. “If they’re not ready to drive when they’re 16, then you don’t have to allow them to drive. It might take a child until 17 to really be able to do that.”
Timothy Smith, author and teen driving expert, concurs. Parent involvement positively impacts teen driving.
“Research has shown that when parents get involved in their teen’s driver instruction, especially with time behind the wheel, and set certain driving restrictions, their odds of getting into a car crash can be reduced by one third,” Smith said. “Even if you don’t have a lot of instruction and you’re not the best role model, you can have a huge impact on your teen driver’s skill development.”
Smith warns that teen driving courses aren’t sufficient to ensure that your teen is a safe driver. He encourages parents to help their teen drivers to develop a defensive driving mentality. Teen drivers should follow road rules, but they should be aware that many drivers don’t follow the law, and as a result endanger their safety. Practice defensive driving techniques such as strong braking skills, shortening reactions response times, and pausing two to three seconds before proceeding at changing lights and stop signs.
Tackle teen driving safety on two fronts by sending your child to a teen driving course and by helping out at home. The dual technique will assist in ensuring that your teen driver feels protected on the road.
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About Jamee Tenzer, PCC
In 2002, Jamee Tenzer founded CMQ Coaching, a private practice with a focus on working mothers and female executives. She works with her clients to integrate their professional and personal lives in order to make their vision real in the workplace without giving up the experience they want at home. She is also a trainer, mentor, author and small business coach. Her writing has been published in magazines, she is a contributor to numerous websites, writes a monthly newsletter “Coach Me Quick!” and manages “Executive Moms” on LinkedIn. In 2006, she co-authored, 101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life, and in April of 2012 she published her first Coach Me Quick!; Balance Your Work and Family Life with Less Stress and More Fun.