When I was learning to drive all those years ago, I had the best teacher ever, my father, and there are some essential steps to teaching a teenager to drive that he was definitely using. Learning to drive is exciting, scary and frustrating all in one. It can also be quite stressful for the teacher but these steps to teaching a teenager to drive should ensure that everyone involved is safe and happy on the open road. More importantly, these tips will make certain they can achieve their license by the end of it!
1. Rules of the Road
It's essential to go over the rules of the road before you start the ignition or let them behind the wheel of the car, so one of the first steps to teaching a teenager to drive is to go over the basics of driving. Discussing dangers such as drinking and driving, distractions in the car such as cell phones, loud music and hazardous driving conditions, is also important. Essentials such as having your license and insurance documents to hand are worth enforcing too.
2. Empty Spaces
When my father was teaching me to drive, he took me to an empty car park on a Sunday afternoon. This was great because he was able to teach me basic maneuvers before we actually set off onto the open road where other scary cars would be. You could also go to an industrial estate or driving course.
3. Back to Basics
I think it's also essential that the basic workings of the entire car are explained. Although he or she might be keen just to get going, knowing how the complex machine actually works and what those weird dials and knobs mean is essential. Explain as much as you can about the dashboard controls, the petrol tank, emergency equipment and tires and if you want to be really mean, create a nice little test which they have to pass before they can start the ignition! Safety is key so teaching how to change a flat tire is also a great skill which will ensure confidence on the road.
Being calm is another teaching essential and although it can be scary when you're not entirely in control, keeping your composure is important. If they do something wrong, don't scream and shout and demand they step out of the driver's seat. This will only damage their confidence and ensure that they never want to step foot in a car with you again.
5. 'What if' Scenarios
When you have been driving for a few years, it can be easy to forget what it was like sitting behind the wheel for the first time. You have to think about a multitude of things at one time. Cover all possibilities, such as a tire going flat, emergency services coming up behind or a child running across the road. These 'What If' scenarios are essential and ensure that your student can think about what might happen and how they would react.
6. Move up a Gear
Once you have the basics covered, such as driving, breaking and reversing, you will want to 'step it up a gear,' so to speak, and move onto skills such as parking and reverse parking. You are then ready to get out onto the open road and face other vehicles. To begin with, it might be wise to go out onto the road when it is likely to be quiet, such as a Sunday afternoon. When your student's confidence increases, you can graduate up to busier roads and busier times of day.
7. Practice Makes Perfect
The next thing to do is to practice again and again. It could take weeks or it could take months. Every student is different and everyone grasps driving at different speeds. Having a family member or friend to teach the basics might save money before paying for a driving instructor who will teach a few lessons before they can then take their test.
Thanks to my father's fabulous tutoring many moons ago, I am happy to say that I feel calm and confident on the road and I still remember his wise words to this day. Does anyone else have any tips for teaching a teenager to drive?