Practice, Practice, Practice
They have their license, so they know how to drive, right? By now you know that’s not really the case.
- Think of all the complex skills and split second judgments needed when we drive:
- We have to be able to predict how people and cars will react in any given situation.
- We need to know how our individual cars respond.
- We need to know the roads, and how to adjust to the weather, traffic and countless distractions on and off the road.
Often times, we as parents think that the way we learned—the hard way, through trial and error—is the best way. It isn’t. Times have changed, and so have the risks.
Experts advise that parents should monitor the progress of their teens even after they get their license because the first year is when teens are most likely to crash. Practice with your teen through once-a-week ride-alongs, 30 minutes a week, for at least 6 months (a year is even better).
Go on short trips with them and experience how they drive. Do YOU feel safe? Have them do difficult things that require skill and practice—don’t just cruise over to the local mall. How about turning left across a busy multi-lane street? Or merging onto an expressway at night?
It helps to have specific ideas on what to practice before you go, but the important thing is to practice, and stay involved.