So, your teen has reached a point in their life where they are finally learning how to drive. While they are feeling excited and anxious, you are probably feeling stressed and overwhelmed just by the idea that your child will be sharing the road with both distracted and careless drivers. But, unless you plan on prohibiting your teen from driving, it is inevitable that they will soon be operating a vehicle of their own, or yours, so it is best to get them as prepared as possible.
With that said, here are some helpful tips from State Farm that will assist you as you begin to teach your teen how to drive safely and responsibly.
- Give your teen a tour of the vehicle.
While we think nothing of the size and weight of our vehicles as we have grown accustomed to driving them, your teen might view them as massive and even a little scary. So, it is best to take some time to let them explore the vehicle and then review with them how to adjust their seat, side mirrors, and rearview mirror. Once you do that, be sure your teen knows how each of the following works:
- Dashboard controls
- Steering wheel
- Turn signals
- Safety features like airbags and seat belts
- Emergency lights
- Where the parking brake is, how to activate it, and how to release it.
- How to start and turn off the engine.
- Gas and brakes
- What the warning indicator lights on the dashboard are such as low fuel, oil, or the temperature indicator so they know what they are should they come on.
- Let your teen get a feel for how the vehicle operates.
If your teen has never driven a vehicle before or only a few times in the past, let them start practicing in an area that is safe, such as an empty parking lot. State Farm suggests you have your teen “practice applying gas and brakes, driving straight, turning, and backing up.” Once your teen has mastered these movements, you can take it up a notch and have them engage in more complex tasks such as pulling into and out of a parking space.
Now, while your teen is practicing their driving, be sure to remind them to:
- Look ahead as well as to the sides.
- Check their mirrors regularly or whenever they are planning to make a turn, back up, etc.
- They should be scanning the roads continuously for any potential hazards.
- Remind your teen that they should “keep a clear ‘safe space’ around the car so there’s room to react to any hazards.” State Farm’s example says that it is better for teens to “hang back from the vehicle in front” so they can see what is going on up ahead and will have more time to react.
- It is best to start your teen driver out in areas with minimal traffic and low-speeds.
Once your teen knows how to turn on the vehicle, use the controls, is able to drive forward, and can park, it is time to take them onto a road with little to no traffic and only on roads that have slower speed limits. As your teen gains more experience through practice, use this “Beginner Skills Checklist” State Farm provides to help you determine when it is time to take them on busier roads and even the highway.
- They can enter into a turn lane and make a proper turn. Be sure they are driving at the appropriate speed and using their signals when making their turns.
- They are able to brake smoothly.
- They accelerate smoothly.
- They know how to approach intersections that are controlled by stop signs or lights.
- They are able to determine the right of way.
- They know how to drive on single-lane and multi-lane roadways.
- They can properly change lanes.
- They know how to maintain an appropriate speed and aren’t constantly increasing or decreasing it.
- They understand how to scan for and identify any hazards.
- They keep a safe following distance.
- Your teen knows how to share the road with cyclists, pedestrians, and even school buses.
- They know how to operate their vehicle in a school zone.
- They know how to react when an emergency vehicle is approaching from any direction.
Now, State Farm does provide some additional tips on how to teach your teen to drive once they have mastered the basics so consider visiting their website once your teen has reached that point. And aside from helping your teen become familiar with how to physically operate their vehicle, you will also want to review with them all of the traffic laws they must abide by. And as your teen progresses with their driving, it is important that you continue to remind them of the safety measures they should be taking at all time to help reduce the chances of an accident occurring.
What if my teen driver was involved in a wreck in Baton Rouge, LA?
In the event your teen’s first few experiences with driving have led to them engaging in an accident in LA , it is important that they receive the medical attention they need before you begin worrying about filing a claim. Once they are in stable condition, then you will want to look into filing a claim or recovering compensation from the other party involved if they caused the crash. You may also consider consulting with a Baton Rouge, LA accident lawyer who can help you understand what your incident is worth and how can you can successfully recover this amount you are entitled to.
In fact, if you would like to speak with an accident lawyer now in the Baton Rouge area who is ready and available to help you, contact attorney Michael Hingle at 800-872-5879. He has helped hundreds of clients just like you understand their legal rights and what steps they must take after they have engaged in a car accident.
Michael Hingle & Associates, LLC can be reached at:
8550 United Plaza Blvd., Two United Plaza, Suite 702
Baton Rouge, LA 70809