The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Teaching Your Teen to Drive

Nothing is more stressful than having your inexperienced teenager get behind a 4-ton metal trap, then drive 40 MPH on a busy road. Don’t teach your teen by diving head first in the deep end of the pool. Especially if that “pool” is really a lake, and you “diving” is really your teenager confusing the brake and the accelerator. Take small, simple steps to ensure their safety. Your teenager won’t need an online defensive driving course if they have a parent who can teach them how to drive.

Have them shadow you

Let your teenager be your metaphorical shadow as they watch you drive a car. This will help them get a grasp of what to expect when it’s their turn. Later in life is when they’ll realize they’re your literal shadow. Just make sure you pay extra attention to signs and meters! You do not want to end up teaching them how to dispute a parking ticket.

Get them comfortable behind the wheel

Allow them to become familiar with sitting behind the wheel of a car. This will let them know what to expect without the pressure of performing on a road. Here is a good time to show them the functions of the controls they have at their disposal.

Practice honking at people who make you angry

Since your teenager will adopt your uncontrollable anger someday, show them the right way to honk at people who make them angry. You can do this in the confines of your garage or parked out on the street as people walk by.

Take a drive around vacant streets or quiet neighborhoods

Take a cruise around a vacant street or a quiet neighborhood to practice braking and accelerating. With minimal traffic, it will allow your teenager to develop literal motor skills in a low stake, confined manner. It’s a good way to spy on the neighbors too.

Have them practice turn signals

While driving, have your teenager become familiar using turn signals to indicate intent to turn or merge lanes. Reminding them of the importance of proper road communication is key to their learning experience. They’ll eventually learn to never use them.

Have them operate windshield wipers

Windshield wipers can be daunting at first. With so many wiping speed options, it’s hard to choose. Getting your teenage comfortable with driving in the rain will be a great way to learn how to operate under stressful conditions.

Give them headlights and high beam reps

Ensure they are familiar with the rules behind headlights and high beams. Get those reps in by having them practice switching from the two settings. It’s important to remind them of driving with headlights on during rainstorms and low light settings.

Let them adjust the seat and mirror

Comfort is important. Adjusting the seat and mirror to their liking is how they will adopt great driving habits and great posture habits.

Hit busier roads and highways

You can give them a crash course in driving on busy roads and highways. That’s a bad choice of words. Now that your child has the fundamentals of driving under their belt, they can build upon this groundwork with real world experience.

Don’t let them see you cry while watching them drive away into the sunset

The last thing you need to do, as a parent teaching their teenager how to drive, is not letting them see you cry as they drive into the sunset. Giving them the opportunity of freedom to go anywhere they want is a major gift. It may also make them think they ran over a small animal if they see you crying in the rearview mirror.