Having a teenager can come with many ups and downs for Texas parents. They know to expect mood changes, isolation, angst and desires for independence. As part of that independence, many teens begin driving with a learner’s permit at age 15, and it is typically up to the parents to do most of the teaching when it comes to helping their new drivers have safe habits on the road.
This time can be both exciting and frightening. After all, you will be putting your inexperienced teen behind the wheel of a thousand-pound vehicle that can travel at high speeds. The risk of an accident is possible for new and experienced drivers, so you may want to start the learning process on a calm note and instill a safety-conscious mind in your new driver.
What can you do?
From the beginning, it is important to remember that your child is likely to make mistakes behind the wheel. Unfortunately, mistakes while driving could have dire consequences, which is why you do not want to do anything that could increase the chance of errors. Some tips for being an effective driving instructor to your child include the following:
- Always remain on the lookout for hazards. Your children will not have yet developed the habit of constantly checking his or her surroundings.
- Make sure your teen is ready to get behind the wheel. Even if you are excited about your child reaching this milestone age, he or she may have fears or anxiety that could prevent your child from being a safe driver.
- Provide gentle and constructive instruction. Rather than criticizing your child outright, ask questions about the behavior that you consider incorrect so that your child can assess the situation, learn and correct as needed.
- Give ample notice of change in direction. Letting your child know that a turn is coming up could help him or her prepare rather than feeling panicked about suddenly having to make a turn.
You will also need to ensure that your child understands how to interact with other drivers on the road. Distracted, drunk, drowsy, speeding and otherwise unsafe drivers are always on the road. Teaching your child to have patience, to remain calm and to pull over if necessary could help him or her avoid a dangerous situation.
What if there is an accident?
Unfortunately, not everyone is patient with a new driver, and it is possible for your child to come across angry drivers who tailgate, cut them off or otherwise do not drive safely. In some cases, it is the fault of those other drivers when a teen is involved in an accident. If you or your teen suffer serious injuries due to the reckless or negligent actions of another driver, it may be worthwhile to consider legal recourse.