You didn’t think it would sneak up on you as quickly as it did. There’s even a part of you that assumed he/she wouldn’t pass on the first—or even second—try. But here you find yourself, standing in the parking lot of the Motor Vehicle Department, with your kid holding their permit.
If your child is bold, they may ask you on the spot if they can drive you home. Even for more timid teens, it won’t be long before they’re ready to get behind the wheel of the car and start practicing everything from driving on the freeway to parallel parking.
As most parents know, teaching your child how to drive is not a task to be taken lightly. But with the help of these tips and easy-to-follow steps below, you’ll be better prepared to hit the road with your teen in the driver’s seat.
Step 1: Make sure your car is in mint condition.
Between working full-time, picking your kids up from one activity to take them to the next, and still managing to find time for yourself, life is busy. While keeping your car in good condition is on the top of most people’s priority list, life sometimes gets in the way, and suddenly you’re a few weeks overdue for an oil change.
Before you assume your new position in the passenger’s seat, it’s important to find an auto repair shop near you to make sure your car is up for the challenge. Have them change your oil (if you need it), fill your tires with air, and make sure the steering wheel alignment is right on.
Need a solid recommendation? Visit www.garagefly.com to find an auto repair shop you can trust your car with. Best part? You can read reviews of their shop before you book!
Step 2: Scope out the perfect location.
Taking your child for their first drive down a busy street during rush hour probably isn’t the best way to get off on the right foot. While this is definitely what you want to work up to, it’s better to start small. Find a high school, church, or business parking lot near you and head there with your child after hours. This is the ideal place to teach them everything from maintaining speed to backing into a parking space. And, if you’re feeling super optimistic, you can even set up cones and practice some more in-depth driving skills.
Step 3: Have your kid name the car.
We know—this next step sounds totally crazy. We promise, there is a method behind our madness! Sometimes giving something a name is the best way for your student driver to start taking responsibility for it. While it may be your car, you don’t want your child to refer to it as “my mom’s car” the entire time they’re learning to drive. Even if they aren’t the owner, they need to own the responsibility of the vehicle and respect the process of learning to drive it.
Not to mention, this is a fun way to kick off the teaching/learning dynamic. Learning to drive can be stressful for everyone, so giving your car the name “Steve” or “Betty” can be a great way to ease any tension, and help your teen see the car as their own.
Step 4: Prepare for the worst.
As much as we hate to think about it, accidents happen. This is especially true when you’re dealing with a new driver. From running into a light pole when you’re first learning to park, to knocking off one of the side mirrors as your backing out of the garage, there’s a good chance your car won’t come out of this process unscathed.
Rather than stressing out when the damage has been done, go in with a plan! GarageFly partners with amazing auto body shops all over Arizona. Before letting your kid take you for a spin, visit our website and simply enter your zip code. This will bring up a list of trusted auto body shops in your neighborhood. And just like the auto repair shops, you can read reviews and even book an appointment online! This is just another way to eliminate the stress of an inexperienced driver.
Step 5: Try to relax.
We know how elementary this step seems, but it may actually be the most crucial. When your teen is learning to drive, relaxed is probably the last thing they’re feeling. Emotions ranging from excited to scared to everything in between, your driver could use a calming force in the car.
Believe us—we know how tempting is it to pump the imaginary brake or begin reaching for the wheel, but actions like that will only spook your child. Instead, take a deep breath before getting in the car, and encourage your teen that this process isn’t as scary as it seems. When they see that you’re calm and collected, they’ll start to feel themselves relax, making them better equipped to hit the road.
While teaching your kid to drive can be overwhelming, following the steps listed above will lead to a successful and rewarding experience for both you and your teen!