Have you heard that some states, including Wisconsin and Georgia, are waiving the road-test portion of driver’s license requirements because of coronavirus threats? Don’t worry — the roads in those states aren’t going to be a complete free-for-all. The student drivers will still have to take their road tests eventually, when stay-at-home orders are lifted in their communities. And in the meantime, parents will need to sign off on the licenses, certifying that their teen has not only passed the written portion of the exam but also logged a certain number of hours behind the wheel.
Nevada is considering a similar measure, and there’s talk of it in a few other states as well. If you have a teenager who’s itching to get out on the roads, you might be wondering how best to handle teaching them to drive in this confusing time. First thigns first, you might want to make sure your medical insurance is up-to-date! Then read on for some answers.
1. Go Slow
We don’t mean that your teenager should start out driving at 10 mph — although that’s not a bad idea! Rather, you should stretch out and slow down the whole process of teaching them this important set of skills. It will require patience on their part, which of course is not something teens are known to possess in abundance. This will be good practice, however!
Set up a schedule of driving lessons so your teenager knows what to expect. And take things step-by-step. First will be getting them oriented in the car, with where the mirrors, controls, pedals, and other elements are located. Starting the vehicle comes next, then move on to shifting in and out of gear. You see where we’re going with this, right? Don’t just let them peel out and pull away on their first foray behind the wheel.
2. Make Sure They Know the Rules
There are two prongs to this step. First, your child should have studied the rules of the road as provided by your state’s DMV. Ideally, they will have already taken at least a practice written test, if not the real thing.
However, it’s also important to put those rules into practice. Reading or memorizing a set of written instructions isn’t the same as learning those same rules on the job, so to speak. Make sure you are implementing not just practical but also regulatory instruction as you are teaching your child in the car.
According to a Fort Myers car accident injury lawyer at SteinLaw, being very familiar with the rules of the road is one essential element in staying safe.
3. Have Them Instruct You
One good way to test their knowledge of these rules? Have them tell you what to do as you drive. For safety’s sake, make sure you are in a very quiet neighborhood at a quiet time of day — and naturally, you shouldn’t prevent your instincts from kicking in if they panic and can’t remember what you should be doing. But it can be very instructive to quiz your kid in real time on things like stopping at a stop sign, using your turn signal, backing up while checking your mirrors, and so on.
4. Get Familiar with The Parking Lot
Learning to drive in a big, empty parking lot is a bit of a time-honored tradition, and it’s easier than ever these days! Scout out locations in advance so you don’t cut into your child’s practice time. Once you feel they are ready to actually be behind the wheel when the car is moving — gasp! — have them practice starting, stopping, driving straight ahead, and then steering so that the car turns, gently at first and then more sharply.
By the time you leave the parking lot behind and get out onto the streets, your child should be familiar with all of these motions and have a good sense of how to control the vehicle.
Teaching your teenager to drive can be a fun bonding experience for the two of you, even though it might seem nerve-wracking at the beginning! But it’s not for everyone. If you find yourself shouting impatiently or so scared you can’t give them good instruction, outsource this task to your spouse, an elder child, or another trusted relative.
Have you taught a teenager to drive? Share any lessons you learned in the comments to help out your fellow white-knuckled parents!