Advice for parents of young drivers
When your child comes of motoring age, they’ll no doubt ask you for driving lessons. This is an important life lesson, after all, so you agree, and you even offer to get them started with a few spins around somewhere quiet and away from the roads in the evening.
This is your duty, you tell yourself, as you don’t want to face a situation in which a severe lack of training, skills, and knowledge leaves your young drivers asking something like “what happens if someone died in an accident that preceded your DUI arrest?”.
Teaching them yourself?
So, you hand over the keys, strap in and prepare yourself. What follows is the most terrifying three minutes of your life, in which a series of really quite nonsensical hand-eye coordination blunders leave you 20 yards from where you started, facing the wrong way with the rear wiper on. Welcome to the club of Parents of Young Drivers!
No way Jose!
This is where you decide that your place in the teacher’s seat should probably be left to an actual teacher and that your part in getting your mini-me on the road should come down to a few well-chosen nuggets of ‘dos-and don’ts’ style advice and guidance.
With all your years of driving wisdom, you probably know exactly what to say, right? There must be vast catacombs of motoring gold to be had, filed away in the back of your brain, surely? Well, if all you think to impart on the next generation of drivers is “avoid the speed trap at the bottom of the hill on the way out of town to the north”, you might first need a couple of pointers yourself.
Fuel economy (because money doesn’t grow on trees)
Young drivers want to drive everywhere. A simple task like handing a power tool back to a neighbour who lives seven doors down can lead to your teenager volunteering their delivery services and turning that key in the ignition for the 10th time that morning.
While practice breeds success, fuel economy is a lesson that all new drivers would be smart to learn sooner rather than later. Changing gear at around the 2,000 rpm mark, removing excess weight from the car, and avoiding ‘racing’ style starts can all improve fuel economy.
Don’t become a taxi service
New drivers love to give lifts. This is beneficial to the people who want lifts. And there are lots of people who want lifts. Bars, clubs, parties, days out, shopping trips, road trips, getting to college or visiting friends … you name it. Everybody says yes to someone else doing the driving – and young drivers are an easy target.
The only issue is that this leads to distraction, and often to showing-off. A dangerous combination in inexperienced drivers.
Saving money and remaining focused are two ways to get your new driver started with safe road use.