Time seems to be fast-forwarding when you’re a parent. One day you’re teaching your child to ride a bike, and then it’s time for them to learn how to drive a car. Even though your child is nearly an adult, it’s normal to think of them as your baby. The idea of your child behind the wheel of the family car may be enough to get your heart racing.
One of the first rules you can set for your teen driver is never driving without insurance. Following this rule will help you breathe easier at the idea of your child driving. Of course, learning the common traffic laws and rules and practicing safe driving is super important, too.
How to handle new driver anxiety in teens
Things have changed since we learned how to drive. Back then, the freeways were clearer, rush hour wasn’t so rushed, and leisurely Sunday drives were truly leisurely. Now, when we instruct our kids, we are not only telling them how to work the various features which operate the car, but we are also imparting how critical it is to stay vigilant to their surroundings.
We are learning to drive without emotion while practicing defensive driving. We are driving without friends in the car while buckled up, and when we have control over our bodies and have memorized every operational feature. Absolutely ZERO TEXTING (yes, stoplights/signs are off-limits, too). Now is also the time to answer any questions kids might think are silly and for your teen to share any hesitations or fears. Some kids get keyed up, so be prepared to calm them down and reassure them of their skills. Learn more about the dangers of distracted driving.
Schedule time to talk about how vital it is to drive safely. Teach them to make good decisions, even if it means not giving their friends a ride or turning down the radio to laser-focus on their environment. Teach your kids to leave an escape route if events get out of their control, like a car colliding in front of them, should happen. Learn more about teen driving safety in our survey.
Protect yourself and your teen driver
Make sure you and your vehicle have the protection of car insurance. Learn more about car insurance for teen drivers and how teen drivers may also be eligible for a defensive driving insurance discount after completing a driving safety course.
Continue practicing even after mishaps
Your heart is racing, and maybe in the moment, it seems like a great idea to never give it another go. But you can’t let your fear or your teen’s keep them from progressing and achieving a milestone in their lives. It’s the first of many and teaching them to drive is a prime time to show them it’s not so bad being an adult. The secret is grace under pressure, willingness to learn and trying again.
If you’re a nervous driver yourself, or you can’t get past the fear of getting into the car with your teen, no judgment here. It’s the reason why driving schools were invented. And guess what? Even though your kid might be required to take behind-the-wheel instruction through their driver’s ed class, it doesn’t mean that you sign off with one lesson. If they need more time with an instructor, there’s nothing wrong with paying for additional sessions.