4 Smart Ways To Help Soothe Your Teen's Fears About Driving

Despite their innate need for freedom and independence, teens are opting out of obtaining their driver's license in record numbers. Even though it seems counterintuitive, waiting to start driving until after the teen years does not actually improve safety or reduce the risk of accidents occurring. If your teen is one of these nonstarters, it would benefit everyone to start dissecting and eliminating fears about the driving process. Many teens just need extra reassurance and support to begin the journey through driving school to obtain their license. Here are four smart ways to help your teen adjust to the idea of learning how to drive.

Discuss The Risks Of Waiting

About 30% of teens who wait to start driving are actually too nervous to get behind the wheel. If your teen struggles with fears about driving, you should discuss the ways waiting actually increases risk of both traffic tickets and accidents.

From age 16 through 18, drivers are subject to a number of restrictions designed to keep them safe. Teens in this age group are also required to complete a driver's education course before taking the final drive test. When teens obtain their licenses after age 18, it is basically a free for all, as the driving school requirements and driving restrictions disappear. The lack of driving school education alone increases the risk of involvement in a fatal car accident by 24%.

Share Your Own Stories

Teens often view their emotions and experiences as a phenomenon unique to themselves. By sharing your own stories of learning how to drive, teens start to understand that conquering nervousness and fear is a part of the process. You should focus on reinforcing that these troubling feelings tend to dissipate while hitting the books during driving school. Also talk about the ways your driving instructor eased you into the process of piloting a vehicle for the first time.

To further reinforce these shared experiences, you can encourage your teen to watch online videos made by individuals who have successfully quieted their fears and learned how to drive. Your teen will gain an immense amount of reassurance by understanding that other people go through the same emotions while learning this new skill.

Promise To Remain Calm

Your teen may forgo the driving experience in anticipation of your reactions to their initial attempts behind the wheel. Panicked responses to small mistakes can turn your teen off driving forever. Although helping a new driver pilot their ride for the first time is often a harrowing experience, your teen will appreciate your ability to stay calm and issue firm instructions.

During practice periods, utilize a large parking lot free of light posts and barriers for the first few drives. Act as the navigator to help your teen learn how to accelerate, brake and turn with purpose. As your teen learns to maneuver the vehicle in a controlled setting, you may want to move onto the side streets and offer advice or support as needed.

Find A Defensive Driving School

When your teen is ready to start learning how to drive, look for a driving school program that teaches defensive techniques. These programs focus on preventive braking, easy acceleration, adjusting for weather conditions, maintaining a safe following distance and memorizing road rules.

Defensive driving courses will also help mitigate fears by teaching your teen several ways to minimize stress and make calm decisions while behind the wheel. Without defensive driving training, your teen could adopt aggressive driving tendencies. Since aggressive drivers cause more than 1/3 of all traffic accidents, providing a defensive foundation can keep your teen safe and comfortable in any driving situation.   

Providing Continued Support

Although your teen will learn about road rules and driving techniques at driving school, make sure to provide as much practice time behind the wheel as possible. As long as you remain calm and reinforce defensive driving techniques, your teen will benefit from these practice hours with you. During this time, tune into your teen's moods and thought processes to help ease lingering fears and inspire confidence in your new driver. 

For more information and tips, talk with a local driving school or visit websites like http://www.a1peckdrivingschool.com.