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Teaching Your Child to Drive Friday, July 9th, 2010

319261392 b24601e200 300x275 Teaching Your Child to DriveThis could be one of the most difficult things you have ever done.  It could also be one of the easiest and one which gives a lot of pride.  Teaching your child to drive will give him a great deal of independence and indicate to the world (including his friends and those he wishes to impress) that he is fast approaching adulthood.

Teaching your child to drive, however, could be fraught with pitfalls and difficulties if you are not prepared to be patient, considerate and calm.  Therefore before you begin, make sure you have a common understanding that you are in charge, will be patient, civil, encouraging and kind.  He needs to also know that you expect him to follow instructions, be calm, civil and enthusiastic.  Now, that we have cleared those hurdles, we are ready for the technicalities.

Observe the law. Visit the relevant government department and get a drivers’ training manual and a Learner’s permit.   The drivers’ training manual and the car manual are good sources of information on safety, traffic laws, use of the road and the care and familiarization of your motor vehicle.  Study with and test your child on his knowledge of these important areas.

Familiarize your child with the controls of the vehicle. He will need to know where the gas pedals, brakes, lights, indicators, dashboard controls, seat adjustment mechanisms etc. are located.  Take him through each of these and allow him to handle these aspects of the vehicle from a stationary position.  After you are satisfied that he knows where all these are located and their use, you can move on to the stage of starting and stopping.  Teach him to drive forward and to stop slowly as well as quickly.  Teach him to reverse whilst using the mirrors to assist him as well as looking behind him.  Do this in an area where he is unlikely to hit other vehicles or objects, be they stationary or moving.

Parking is next. If it is possible, find a vacant parking lot.  Some orange cones to assist at this stage would be helpful.  Delineate a parking space and teach your child how to park the car within the lines in a straightforward way.  Teach him how to parallel park as well as how to execute a three-point turn.  Once he has mastered these areas he will gain a lot of confidence.  He will know that he can actually display competence in an area where other accomplished drivers are likely to be present and also assure you that he will not damage his or someone else’s vehicle in parking.

Next, take him on the roads.  Find quiet roads on which to drive as this will build his confidence and lower your anxiety.  Have your child practice his driving techniques and use of the roads.  Teach him to be aware of other motorists and to utilize the hand signals which communicate his actions to other users of the road.  Remember, this is a learning exercise, so he may not do everything the way you instruct him at first.  For safety sake, keep alert and close to the emergency brake.

Evaluate your child’s progress and pour on the encouragement.  Give him as much practice as possible and based on his rate of progress, move on to the next stage of getting his driver’s license.  All the very best to the both of you as you teach your child to drive.

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