If you are a parent with a teen going through the Texas drivers education process, you are probably pretty anxious about what you can do to make sure they stay safe on the road. Ensuring that teens have a good start to their driving education is always essential. In Texas, however, it’s particularly important since parents and legal guardians are expected to spend a significant amount of time teaching their newbie drivers behind-the-wheel basics. If you want to help your teen down the right path to becoming a safe driver, here are four important tips to remember.
Act as a Model For Safe Driving Behavior
The first, most important way you can develop a healthy driving attitude is to start by setting a good example long before your teen takes the wheel. When your teen is seated in the passenger seat, show them what it means to be a good driver. Always follow traffic laws, good defensive driving practices, and common driver courtesy.
To make setting an example really effective, talk to your teen while you are driving to explain your thinking behind all of the actions. Say something like: “I’m allowing myself three seconds of space between my car and the car in front of me just in case they decide to brake suddenly,” or, “I always slow to check for pedestrians before I approach this crosswalk.” This kind of information lets them know how to best apply safe driving techniques.
Make Ground Rules Clear
What do you expect from your teen when they start driving? Many parent-teachers make the mistake of assuming that their student simply understands what their new responsibilities as a driver are. Don’t leave anything to chance or miscommunication. Lay out, on paper, what you want them to do and how they should behave on the road. This won’t just steer them in the right direction while they are practicing with you, it will help make expectations crystal clear after they get their Texas driver’s license.
Make Sure They Know the Law, And the Consequences for Breaking It
Texas, like most states, has a graduated driver license system. This system allows drivers to earn their driving privileges in smaller amounts over time. The result creates more experienced drivers who are confident behind the wheel before they tackle more dangerous driving scenarios, such as night driving.
Make sure that your teen understands these limitations and why it is essential that they adhere to them. Breaking the rules (like driving past curfew hours or driving with underage passengers) can be particularly tempting for new drivers, so it’s your job as a Texas parent-teacher to encourage them to stay on the straight and narrow path toward safe driving.
Emphasize Vehicle Maintenance
Teaching your teen how to be a good motorist goes beyond simply showing them how to drive safely. Most new drivers don’t realize just how essential regular maintenance is to having a reliable vehicle. Once they get their license, make maintaining the car their new responsibility. Teach them how to keep their car in good working order by ensuring they are changing the oil, rotating the tires, checking the brake pads, and performing other essential maintenance on time.