Although many teenagers are excited at the prospective of driving, there are some that are afraid to drive. Reasons to explain why teens are afraid to drive vary. Some teens are so caught up in their craze for electronic gadgets, such as smart phones, that they show little interest in learning to drive. Other teens refrain from enrolling in a driver education class in high school and fear the enormous responsibility associated with operating a vehicle. Some teens have parents that are unwilling to let their children drive due to increases in their automobile insurance premiums. Whatever the reason, there are many benefits for a teen learning to drive. Driving is an important skill that leads to freedom, independence, and can save a life in a medical emergency. If you want to help your teen overcome the fear of driving, consider the following tips:
Understand Your Teen
The first step in helping your teen to overcome his or her fear in learning to drive is to understand your teen’s fear. As a parent, you know your teen better than anyone. Speak openly, honestly, and patiently with your teen to get to the root of his or her phobia. Once you understand the reason your teen is afraid to drive, then you can slowly work on easing his or her fears of driving. Trying to get your teen to speak about his or her fears may take some time, but be persistent and don’t give up. Eventually your teenager will discuss his or her fears about driving with you when he or she is ready. Make sure you listen to your teen’s fears with an open mind, and never belittle the fears.
After understanding your teen’s fears of driving, you can help him or her overcome those fears by teaching your teen the basics of driving. Drive your teen to an empty parking lot. Next, have your teen sit in the driver’s seat of the vehicle while you are in the passenger seat. Explain how the vehicle operates. For example, explain how the break, gas pedal, and gear shift works. Avoid trying to teach your teen too quickly the basics of driving that an experienced driver takes for granted. Work at your teen’s pace and let him or her get comfortable sitting behind the wheel of the car. Once your teen is comfortable sitting behind the wheel of the car, you can let him or her drive at about 5 miles per hour in the empty parking lot to begin getting a feel for the vehicle. It is very important to never yell at your teen if he or she makes a mistake and to use a patient tone in correcting your teen’s mistakes By practicing on a regular basis in an empty parking lot, your teen will begin to feel comfortable behind the wheel of the car and not have to worry about other drivers.
Transition to Traffic
Once your teen has become comfortable with the handling of the vehicle, you can begin giving your teen practice in driving in side streets or low-traffic locations. Next, transition to highways and finally interstates with exits. Since practice is important, provide your teen many opportunities to drive until it becomes a routine habit.
Encourage your teen to enroll in a driver’s education course at his or her high school, if possible. Your teen will learn to drive safely under the supervision of a trained professional in a safe environment. This course will help prepare him or her in taking and passing the driver’s test required to obtain a driver’s license in the state he or she resides. In addition, your teen may be eligible for an auto insurance break.
Encourage Driving Independence
Instead of driving your teen to his or her activities, nudge your teen into driving himself or herself to school, work, or extra-curricular events. Once you feel that your child is capable of driving safely and responsibly, give him or her freedom and encourage his independence in driving without your presence. Demonstrate to your child that you trust his or her driving abilities and judgment to make good decisions, and you will also increase his or her feeling of independence and confidence as well.
Sebastian specializes in healthy and safe driving. You can find him writing on a blog about cars and driving, as well as posting regular updates on his social media profiles.