The time has come: your kid has finally become old enough to operate a moving vehicle (yikes). Learning to drive is rather necessary, especially if you live somewhere without public transit. As we focus on getting our kids a good education in the classroom, we also need to focus on the skills that will prepare them for life. Learning how to drive isn’t a one-and-done kind of chore. Driving provides ongoing education, and every new driver should approach the skill with patience and a willingness to understand. Preparing your kid to drive relies heavily on how you approach their education. There’s more to it than just learning how to steer and turn on the wiper blades. Here’s a great resource for all parents with kids that are getting ready to drive.
Putting in the Hours
To get your kid where they need to be, it’s going to take extracurricular effort. This means taking some time on weekends and weekday evenings to get in the passenger seat and help guide your new apprentice in the everyday skills of a battle-hardened driver.
Getting the Basics of Car Upkeep
There’s one thing that will never hurt for your kid to understand: the basic functions of a vehicle. Knowing how to answer questions like “what’s that smell?”, “what’s that sound?”, and “what’s that fluid?” will help them learn what steps and measures need to be taken when something out of the ordinary happens. Teaching them how to change a tire is a key skill that will save them (and you) a lot of money in the long run. In addition to knowing how to handle the unexpected, you should teach your kid about routine maintenance, like rotating tires, checking belts, changing bulbs, replacing fuses, getting new brakes, checking fluid levels, and more. Some folks simply overlook these tasks because they don’t realize they should be done frequently. Then there are simple upkeep measures like cleaning the inside of the car that preserves the look and life of the car. When it comes to finding the right places to get the vehicle fixed, you can help by talking with them about certain things to look for in an auto mechanic.
Talking About Responsibility
Having a car comes with a new wave of personal freedom. While this personal freedom is exciting, your kid takes on a large sense of responsibility that comes with operating an expensive, 2,000 pound—give or take—vehicle. Teach them about the terrible effects of driving under the influence and texting while driving. Teach them about always being on the lookout for other cars and pedestrians. Talk with them about car insurance and the value of always being prepared in case of an accident.
Don’t Go All Out on a First Car
If you’re considering getting your child their own wheels or if they plan to save up on their own, it might not be the wisest choice to shell out for a newer, more expensive vehicle. Giving them a good lesson in the value of a vehicle can start by showing them how much cars cost, and agreeing on a nice, used vehicle that they can even pitch in to help pay for. If you’re looking to get a quality, reliable used car for your new teen driver, check out our Used Car Inspection Worksheet and work through it with them. Leasing is a popular option for young drivers since the payments are typically lower and the vehicle remains under warranty, meaning you and your young driver have more peace of mind.