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Editor’s Note: This article was written by Our Small Hours guest poster Amy Patterson. Amy Patterson is an avid reader on trending topics and a freelance writer in her spare time. On the beautiful coast of North Carolina you will usually find her catching up on the latest news with locals or on the beach with her two kids. She loves to write pieces on family and parenting, but also writes about health and fitness as well.

How to Prepare Teens for Safe Driving

When your kids get to be a certain age, they’ll want to start driving. As a parent, you’re probably nervous about letting your child behind the wheel for the first time, but it’s bound to happen sooner or later, and there’s no stopping it from happening.

So what’s a parent to do? How should you talk with your kids about driving? And what should you talk to them about? Every family is different, but most of this information should apply to most parents and their newly-driving kids.

Make Time for Your Kids to Practice Driving

Your kids will be better drivers if you schedule time to practice driving with them. Plan a few hours every Saturday for a few months. Driver’s Ed classes are of course important, but most people learn best through actual practice, not classroom lectures. Actually sitting behind the wheel and running the car while under expert supervision will teach your kids a lot about driving.

Discuss Defensive Driving With Your Teen

People usually remember the things their parents tell them about driving. It’s important to discuss the concept of defensive driving with your kids before you let them drive off on their own. Defensive driving includes:

  • Allowing for room. Drivers need to keep plenty of space between themselves and fellow motorists. Teach your kids how far behind to keep from the cars ahead, and about how that distance changes with different speeds.
  • Keeping their eyes out. Paying attention is crucial to traffic safety. Teach your kids how many things can go wrong or spring up suddenly while in traffic. You’ve no doubt got some scary driving stories. Tell your kids these stories; a good story can help your kids remember the lessons involved.
  • Avoiding distracted driving. Distracted driving is a scourge on our roads, and it is important to instill into young drivers the reality that any distraction that takes your attention from the road is incredibly reckless. According to a McAllen accident lawyer, “Drivers who are texting, talking on a cellphone, eating, or simply not paying attention to the road ahead puts other drivers and their passengers at high risk of injury or loss of life”

Discuss Proper Car Care With Your Teen Driver

Cars need to be kept up to be safe. You don’t need to turn your teenager into a mechanic, but a few basic car care techniques will help them keep things running smoothly and keep them out of trouble. Some things you might want to show them include:

  • Checking engine oil. Checking your engine’s oil is easy and important. Show them how to add a quart of oil from the gas station when things get low. Learning to check oil and mileage will give your child a sense of respect for the car’s complexity.
  • Winter issues. If you live in a cold climate, there’s a whole host of things you can discuss about car care. Teach them the importance of running a car every day when it’s cold out, and of letting it idle for a while on extremely cold days to prevent the engine block from cracking.
  • Gassing up. It may seem obvious to the experienced driver, but there are few things to teach your kid about putting gas in a car. Not to light a match at the station, for one, and the differences between the various kinds of gas available.

Editor’s Note:  For my homeschooling readers, check out this great list of driver’s ed requirements by state.How to Prepare Your Teen To Drive Safely

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