Family, Lifestyle, Parenting

The Essential Guide to Keeping Your Teen Safe On the Road: Thoughts From a Mom Who’s Almost There

This may sound weird coming from someone who doesn’t have a child driving yet… but here’s the thing, my soon-to-be tween son will be driving before his dad and I know it!

For those of you whose littles aren’t so little anymore and possibly already driving, I’m sure you know just how fast time flies. Perhaps you were excited for them and couldn’t wait to teach them the joy of driving. I don’t know about you but the thought of leaving any of my kiddos to their own devices behind the wheel of a car is simply terrifying (LOL)!

I remember my first years of driving. You know the saying, “You gotta watch out for other folks on the road!”?! Well, most of the time, I was that other driver to look out for. Yeah, I was careless and it wasn’t because I wasn’t taught how to drive properly. I was just young and careless. So, I’m a few years ahead of myself here, but to be a supportive parent, there are some steps I am going to start taking now, and share with you, that can help keep our one-day-to-be-driving-teens safe on the road.

Theory Is As Important As Practice

Something I am going to make a point to do before even thinking about allowing my son to turn the key in the ignition is making sure he is aware of the potential hazards that may encounter when behind the wheel. We will sit in the driver’s seat and talk about basic safety. I don’t want to scare him, but I’m going to share some of me and his dad’s personal experiences, wrecks included! I want to also ensure that he understands the simple maintenance checks that he should be carrying out throughout his driving journey.

This is one area that I lack in BIG TIME because as a teen driver, we always had a maintenance man (thanks Uncle Wayne) that always took care of EVERYthing car related. Now as a married adult, my husband and I still have a go-to maintenance man, his granpa (thanks Daddo)! So initially, it’s super important that we purposefully teach our kiddos about the tire pressure checks, oil dipstick test, fluid level checks and dashboard light monitoring. This is also something that kiddos can actually learn about now. Understanding how their car works will give them a newfound respect for the vehicle they will one day be in control of.

Buy A Safe Car

Okay so I’m not saying that any of our kiddos will be handed their first car like me and their dad were, but I can assume that they will one day have a car of their own. I found that NCAP safety records are vital when checking the credentials of any potential vehicle. The goal of any parent is wanting our children to be driving safely, right? Part of helping ease the stress is the knowing that the car they will be in is safe and up-to-date, meaning that they have side impact bars, multiple airbags and the latest braking technology to prevent serious injuries should anything happen. If you are one of those parents who are eager to purchase a newer, safer car, be sure to compare the different car loan rates unless you’re buying straight up (which is how we plan to purchase any future cars).

This won’t just keep your new driver safe but also your entire clan. It can also be another one of those learning opportunities to teach financial lessons of buying, borrowing, interest, etc.

Set An Example

When out and about on the road, we gotta set the example for our future drivers. This is a given, but also easier said than done, am I right? We’ve been at this thing for awhile, so we have to remember to make sure that we are following the mirror, signal, maneuver steps, and especially sticking to all speed limits all while staying alert on the road. I have to admit that sometimes I snack (okay ,eat) while driving or glance at my cellphone (while at a stoplight). So I’m guilty… and shouldn’t waste time on showing ALL my kiddos that my attention is focused solely on the journey and the road ahead of us.

Being the public school student that I was, I had the opportunity to take Driver’s Ed, which meant lessons with a “professional.” As a homeschooling mom, me and Dad will be teaching our kiddos ourselves. I’d say we’re professional enough to teach the rules of the road, the hazards, and road safety. Plus, nothing compares to parents knowing the best habits to instill in our own children.

If you’re like me, you might find it hard to cut the cord. But let’s face it, we are gonna have to at some point, right? The best we can do is enable them to learn to drive and monitor their progress along the way. By doing these few steps, we can ensure that they become the safest driver they can be.

CHIME IN: Do you have drivers in the home already? Share some tips of how you managed both emotionally and mentally to prepare for teaching them and then sending them off to drive! I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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