Learning to drive is best described as an endless sequence of lessons. There’s so much to pick up; how to handle yourself on the road, how to deal with other cars and heavy traffic – and, of course, handling the mechanics of the car for yourself. If you think back to what it was like when you were learning to drive, you probably can’t even remember how you picked it all up.


When your kids get to an age where it’s their turn to learn, it can be a difficult time for a parent to adjust to. Not only do you have to deal with the feeling of “where has the time gone!”-style panics, but you also have to trust your child to be able to handle this huge responsibility. It’s not an easy time, but there’s no doubt a full driving licence and a confidence on the roads can be a major boon for kids, so you go along with it.


The lessons don’t stop with the driving instructor, however. Before you hand over the keys, there are a few things that you – from a parental perspective – need to be sure that they understand.


1) Friends Pay Gas Money


If there’s a driver in a friendship group of kids, then there’s a good chance that the driver is going to be subjected to a lot of requests for lifts. Some of these will be completely fine and normal; additional passengers for a trip your child was making anyway.


Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to teach your child that extra passengers equal extra weight, which equals more money spent on gas. While they don’t have to be asking for a fortune from anyone that catches a ride, encouraging them to ask their friends for contributions – especially for long trips – is just good practice.


2) Do Not Touch Your Phone


Say it once. Say it twice. Say it again, and again, and again, to the point where your child is absolutely sick of hearing you say it. Pepper your instructions with details about car accidents and lawsuits; the potential for prosecution; and the very real potential of injury or even death due to distraction. Then say it again. And again.


Distraction has always been a problem when people are behind the wheel, but it’s even more so in an age where kids don’t want to put their cell phones down for more than five minutes. Even hands-free systems have their problems, so just make it a hard and fast rule: if they’re in the driver’s seat, no contact with their phone is permissible. Hopefully you’ll make the point so forcefully, the message will eventually filter through.


3) Politeness Is Free


If someone gives way to you, thank them. It’s such a small gesture, but it makes the roads a nicer place for everyone to be.


4) Don’t Rush


By far one of the biggest issues that can cause a car accident is the driver rushing because they are late. When we rush, we make bad decisions and do things we would never normally do. Instruct your kids to always pull over, call the person they are rushing to meet, and then proceed in an orderly, normal way. It’s far safer, and should help them become a more accomplished, secure driver too.

Image via Flickr

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