Being a new driver can seem very scary, you’re just starting to drive by yourself and you have all this newfound freedom of being able to drive your friends and yourself around. For parents, this can be fantastic because it means they no longer have to be the family chauffeur. In multi-child households, it’s even better because the older sibling can now drive around the younger one. However, for some parents, their child being on the road by themselves can be the scariest thing to imagine. Here is some advice for all parents with new drivers.
Be a good example for your children
The classic “monkey see monkey do” saying. If your children are used to being in the car with you and watching the way you drive, odds are they will also drive that way. The best thing to do is while you’re driving to give your new driver a couple of pointers. Especially to establish habits like signalling before every turn, or completely stopping at a stop sign.
Choose an appropriate car
If you plan on helping your new driver out by buying them a car or at least helping, you may want to do some research into what cars are good for newer drivers and what safety features are available.
Here are some safety features you might want to look into for your new driver:
- FCW (forward collision warning)
This will alert drivers about impending collisions whether that be other cars or pedestrians.
- BSW (blind-spot warning)
A light that will come on when there is something in your blind spot.
- LDW (lane departure warning)
This one is not as common but this will monitor your position within a lane and alert you when you drift outside of the lane markers.
Practice, Practice, Practice
This is very important for new drivers. Parents are a good wealth of knowledge as they have been driving for longer and they are the best people to practice with. Whether that be driving downtown or driving on the highway. New drivers should be able to practice with their parents. They are already comfortable with them and driving with your parents can help you stay calm in potentially stressful road situations.
Talk about impaired driving
The youngest you can get your license in Ontario is 17. This might be a little bit off of the legal drinking age but having the talk with your children about the dangers of impaired driving can be helpful nonetheless. Not only will being impaired increase the odds of getting into an accident there are also legal and economic consequences of driving under the influence.
Limit nighttime driving
This tip is mainly for extremely new drivers. Nighttime is the most dangerous time to drive especially for new drivers. There is reduced visibility at night which makes it significantly more challenging. This can be combated by practicing nighttime driving with someone else in the car.
Prepare them for different weather conditions
Especially in Ontario where we are used to the harsh winters with lots of snow and ice, parents should be preparing their children to potentially drive in these conditions. Whether that be helping them pick proper tires for the season or going out for extra practice together during either a particularly snowy day or even while it’s raining. Also explaining to your new driver what to do in the event of skidding or hydroplaning.
Keep an eye on maintenance
New drivers may not know how to maintain a vehicle effectively which is where it falls to the parents to teach them. Teaching your child how to fill up their gas by themselves, load up on windshield wiper fluid, test tire pressure (and fill up their tires when needed) and even the steps to changing a flat tire. All of these tools would help a new driver in the long run.
Steps to owning their car
Between leasing and financing, teaching a new driver about the steps it takes to purchase a car for themselves can have lots of future benefits. This includes teaching them how to negotiate with salespeople. There is a lot to learn about this process that research could help with, and some help from their parents.
Parents are a big part of any child’s life and when they get their G2 they enter a new phase of their life. This phase is an important time for them to learn a lot of new things like how to check tire pressure or what instances to use high-beams. Parents should be able to help out their new drivers wherever possible to make sure they stay safe on the road and that there is no need to worry.
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