Advice for Parents of New Drivers

AAA Mid States

Newsflash to parents of new drivers – driver’s education starts at home because your teenager is watching you as you drive now. They have been watching you for probably 10 years by now. How’s your driving been? Have you been a good role model for them?

Most parents don’t realize they are the most critical influence on their teen’s driving, even more than a professional driver education school. And if your driving hasn’t been 100% safe while they’ve been aboard, you might have to work a bit harder to help address those bad habits you’ve been passing on to your teen.

For starters, drive like you want your teen to drive.

They’ll be driving on their own at some point and they will default to driving however you have been driving.

Engage your teen when you are driving:

  • Ask them to “read the road” as you drive, identifying anything that might require you to change your speed or turn the steering wheel.
  • Have them note any vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycle riders.
  • Show them how to adjust their speed to the local driving situation, taking into consideration the three-speed factors:

- Your visibility (i.e., at night or in fog, visibility is reduced = lower speed)
- Your traction (i.e., wet roads = lower speed)
- How much space you have around you (i.e., in traffic or on the open road)

  • Stay back at least three to four seconds behind the vehicle ahead.

- And add a second for each additional factor.
- Is it raining? Stay back at least four to five seconds.
- Is it also foggy? Stay back at least five to six seconds.