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Lost in a wave of nostalgia, you reminisce about when your child wanted to go to the petting zoo, couldn’t wait to see the next Toy Story movie, and loved going on family vacations. Suddenly you are knocked out of your fugue state by a request (more of a demand) for….car keys! It seems so unfair…
As a parent, your child’s safety and the safety of others on the road is your primary concern. Whether you are in the research stage or still formulating a plan, there are steps you can take to prepare your child for becoming a safe and responsible driver.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Driving is a skill learned over time and with practice. Your child is likely unprepared for how much practice is necessary to master the skill. Take an active role in the endeavor and provide your teen with as much time as possible behind-the-wheel. Your teen’s formal instruction from driving school should provide experience with different types of traffic conditions. Practice and reinforcement of what they learn in class will help improve the skill and provide them with confidence in their ability.
Don’t Forget to Teach Vehicle Responsibility
Your teen’s focus is getting a license but there is so much more responsibility involved in maintaining a vehicle. If your new driver or driver-to-be is still in school, you will likely assume the financial responsibility associated with them getting a license. Still, this is an opportunity to familiarize your teen with the costs of insurance, gas, and basic vehicle maintenance like oil changes and tire rotations. Teach them how to check the oil and other fluid levels, how to measure tire pressure, and how to change a tire.
Is your teen ready?
Your child will not be happy to hear this but truthfully, not every teen is ready for this responsibility simply because they have reached a certain age. Each teen is unique and perhaps has yet to reach the requisite maturity level for the responsibility. Postponing for even just a handful of months can make a big difference.
There’s an App for That
MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles, in April of this year, announced an enhanced teen driver initiative: The Parent-Supervised Driving Program. The program is used in over 24 states across the nation and focuses on the critical role that parents play in the teen driver education process. The program provides both a printed and digital curriculum, and a mobile app, RoadReady®, which helps log hours and export driving history. The program is provided in collaboration with the Safe Roads Alliance. For more information, click here.
Take this opportunity to set clear expectations for behavior and rules relating to driving. A written contract, as some experts suggest, may be overkill but make sure to cover all possibilities and know the law:
Do you have a new driver in the house? Now is an excellent time to schedule a safety maintenance inspection for your vehicle and take care of any problems before your teen takes the wheel. The pros at Shephard’s Automotive are here to help. Contact us for an appointment today, 978.465.5973.