Preparing your teen for the road

As parents, you want to keep our
teens safe on the roads, so it’s important to be thorough when teaching them to
drive. When teens first start learning to drive, the experience can be both
exciting and nerve-wracking. Remember to have patience and to set a good
example with your own driving. Here are some suggestions that might help:

Plan ahead

Be sure to tell your teen the
location in advance. It helps if it’s a familiar location; it will alleviate
some of the anxiety about hitting the road for the first time. In order to
build up teens’ confidence, start slow. Use an empty parking lot for the first
lesson. This allows your teen to become familiar with the feel of the car and
gives them practice on the manoeuvres before they reach the main road. You may
also want to stick to daytime driving at first and pick days when the weather
is clear.

Stay calm

For driving lessons, parents must
remember to stay calm and avoid being too critical. This will affect your
teen’s concentration and may even cause an accident. Parents should set goals
for their teens on the road, and be sure to praise them for good performance.

Ask questions

One of the biggest issues for new
teen drivers is awareness of their surroundings. In order to keep them
conscious of this, you should ask questions. For example, if they are going
over the speed limit, ask them what the speed limit is, rather than scolding
them for going over.

Give careful directions

When your teen is driving, be sure
to tell them what you want them to do in advance. For example, if you want them
to turn at a junction, be sure to tell them to make a turn ahead, rather than
‘turn now’.

Set realistic goals

When you begin the lessons, set a
time limit for around 10-15 minutes at most. Once your teen has built up
confidence on the road, you may slowly start to extend the length of time of
the lessons.

More tips

Local Traffic Police Constable Tim
Balls further suggests: “It’s always wise to also seek lessons from a certified
driving instructor. They can guide your teen in instruction as they are aware
of what the driving test entails.”

Constable Balls also has some
hands-on suggestions: “Look ahead and anticipate the other drivers. Be aware of
your surroundings and always make sure you give yourself room to manoeuvre.
Also, make sure not to drive too close to the vehicle in front to avoid accidents.

“Be a courteous driver, take your
time, and don’t rush. Make sure you obey all the laws and road signs, speed
limits, stop signs, traffic lights and so on.”

He also urged the importance of
adhering to all the legal requirements, such as having a provisional driver’s
licence, insurance on the vehicle, displaying plates on the vehicle, and always
being accompanied by a qualified driver.

“Learn all the laws of the road and
don’t be swayed by your peers to do anything reckless on the road,” he said.

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