Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage that every teenager eagerly anticipates. It is a step towards freedom and adulthood. Of course, it is a very important step that should not be taken lightly by anyone. As the parent of a new driver, your role is crucial in the development of the young driver. No one becomes a good driver overnight, and very few people become responsible drivers without guidance from a mentor.
Turning your child into a good and responsible driver is obviously important for the sake of the child’s safety and well-being, but it’s also important to your wallet. The better your teenager is at driving, the less you are going to have to pay for car insurance – and probably repairs as well.
Here are seven tips that every parent of a new driver should take heed of in order to keep their child safe when taking to the road behind the wheel.
- Driving is a Privilege
This is a motto that should be instilled into your child’s mind immediately. Make sure that they are aware of the fact that driving is a privilege, and not a right. Let them know that they are not going to get the car unless they prove that they have earned your trust. Children should know that there are other ways to get around and if they are not responsible drivers, they will not earn the privilege to drive.
- Safety Courses are Money Well Spent
Sure, your son or daughter is probably going through some type of driver’s education class in school and also needs to take lessons before earning a driving permit. However, there is never too much preparation when it comes to turning your children into good drivers. Enlisting them in a driving course can never hurt, it can only help. It might seem like an unnecessary expense at first, but keep in mind the fact that car insurance rates depend on how well they drive. It is a cost that definitely pays off in the grand scheme of things. Of course, there are fantastic courses no matter what country you are in and highly regarded driving schools that have been around for many years.
- Follow up with a Parental Course
The learning experience shouldn’t end with outside sources. Once your child has gone through all of the student courses and even entered and completed an independent driving school course, there is one more teacher that he or she must impress in order to earn the right to get behind the wheel. That, of course, is you. Following up with your children to see what they have learned and give them pointers of your own. Another great thing about doing this is that it shows them that you really care and that you are investing your time and efforts into their driving skills and their future.
- Safety First when choosing a Vehicle
New drivers are more likely to get into accidents. Whether you have decided to get a new or a used car (you can find some great options here) for your child, make sure that safety comes first. You are looking for a reliable car first and foremost that puts an emphasis on safety features. Of course, you need to stay away from sports cars and any other high performance vehicles. They often promote bad driving etiquette and they immediately increase your insurance rates even before your child has stepped into it.
- Set a Good Example
When you are driving and your child is in the car, make sure to drive the way you would want them to drive. Don’t let them get any bad habits from you. Always hold both hands on the wheel, check your mirrors, never drive over the speed limit and practice generally good driving etiquette. If your child sees that you are not obeying the rules of the law, how can you expect them to become good drivers? Lead by example.
- Set Rules and Define Punishments
Make sure to set rules that your child needs to follow. And if they break these rules, apply the appropriate punishment. This will reinforce the idea of driving being a privilege. For example, set a rule that if they get a speeding ticket, their driving privileges will be suspended for a week, and stick to these rules so that they know that you mean business.
- Stress Strike Policy on Drinking and Driving
This is a no-brainer, but it can never be stressed enough. Let them know that drinking and driving is something that they should never do under any circumstances and that if they do it, they will lose their driving rights for good. Let them know that it is alright to ask for a ride if they have had something to drink and that every other option is better than getting behind the wheel when intoxicated.