Tips for Teaching Teenagers to Drive
We moved to the States six years ago which meant my oldest daughter was allowed to drive a car…on a regular street…with regular cars…and innocent people! Sounded so scary! She was just a Freshman in High school.
In Germany where I took my driving test you have to be at least 18 years of age. In order to drive you have to take 14 theory units, a mandatory first aid course of about 8 hours, and 20 hours of supervised driving with a certified instructor. Other than paying the bill, parents have nothing to do with the driver’s license.
This also explains why the average insurance cost in Germany is only a fraction of what we pay here in America.
In the state of Georgia, teenagers at the age of 15 can get their permit by taking a multiple-choice test at the DDS
When they pass the test, parents or guardians have 12 months to teach them how to properly drive on busy streets and also how to park the vehicle. In some cases that can be even more challenging than the driving part!
I am proud to announce that both my girls passed the driving exam on their first try and are very good drivers.
Here are some tips for teaching your teenagers to drive:
- Order a “student driver”-sign and make sure to stick it on your car! Other drivers are more forgiving than young drivers.
- Get the oldest drivable car that you have standing in your driveway. They will hit curbs, poles, and sometimes other cars. Stick with this one car for all the lessons.
- Start empty: For the first lesson, we went to an empty parking lot. We mostly used School parking lots over the weekend and over the summer. There were barely any cars and mostly no pedestrians in sight.
- The basics: Before the vehicle is even moving, explain all the buttons, switches, and control lights in the car while they are sitting in the driver’s seat. Let them adjust the seat and mirrors and explain why this is important every time they enter a vehicle. Buckle up.
- The pedals and what they do: The kids need to understand how to use each petal and how they work together. Which means that the car will now be set in motion. For my kids that was super exciting and also scary. Let them drive slowly in the parking lot getting used to setting the blinker and turning on the light. Let them stop at every corner to eventually evolve to a smooth break.
- Encourage them by telling them how good they are doing.
- Try to stay cool and don’t shout even if you have to explain the blinker for the 6th time…
- Take breaks if you have to.
- We spent a lot of hours in those parking lots until I was certain that they could manage the car in their sleep. By the time we hit small streets, my kids were already very familiar with our car and driving was some sort of routine.
- Let them drive when you go to school, the supermarket, and football practice. As long as it’s not the highway or too busy streets, let them sit in the driver’s seat. Practice makes perfect and helps to remember the streets.
- Find a good driving school. This is a big one. I know it is not in everyone’s budget, but you should not cut costs when it comes to safety. Even the thought of being in the passenger seat with my daughters driving on the highway on a busy day made me cringe. We decided to get them 10 hours with a certified driving school and the appropriate car that can be stopped by the teacher at any time. We used 1ACT driving school and were very happy with the service that they provided. The girls were picked up from home and back 2 hours later. They also teach parallel parking. The investment was around $500!
Did we miss any tips for teaching teenagers to drive? Let us know if the comments below.