When our kids finally get their learners permits and begin to drive for the first time, there’s a tendency for some to drive timidly and without the confidence they’ll need to avoid causing traffic spots. Especially if they sense you are afraid of their driving, or lack confidence in their abilities.
At Brookside “66” Service, we see families with new drivers each year, learning the ropes and trying to keep out of trouble in their first year. Something we are frequently asked is, “How do I instill confidence in my kid as they learn to drive?”
Start easy and build. Begin by taking them somewhere they can learn to drive safely in, typically the empty parking lot of a closed store, or a school out for the weekend. Buy some orange cones and talk them through the steps. Be calm and soothing, or let someone else do the instruction-- if they associate driving with your panic, they may never get confidence. Make certain you are teaching good habits, such as putting the car in park at each red light.
Go back to school. Most people don’t take a Defensive Driver course until they get into an accident. There’s no reason to wait; you should not only take your kid, but one parent should take the course with them. It’s a great refresher that will help you and your child reduce their insurance coverage costs per month in most states.
Prepare for the worst. At Defensive Driving school, they’ll also teach your kid about how to deal with hazardous road conditions, such as hydroplaning from a heavy rain, ice slicks, oil slicks, snow, and mud. Use opportunities such as a freeze during the winter holiday to teach them to deal with ice slicks in a relatively safe environment. Help them keep calm and react to the situation with a strategy in play. Drill them later on how to deal with bad road conditions, to keep them on their toes!
Teach them to read ‘auto body language’. Show them how the positioning of a car can tell you what the motives of a driver are; where they may turn, when they may stop. They’ll teach some of this in Defensive Driving, but it will be up to you to see them implement it in your car.
Compliment and criticize. Take rides with them and notice the things they have absorbed from you and the care they are taking. If they are too slack, criticize and correct them, but try to make sure your compliments outnumber your criticisms. Building confidence is harder than expressing fear with your own child driving you somewhere, so you must find it within you to be brave and kind,
Drill the basics. As they begin to learn to drive on real roads and in real traffic, have them ride with you when you drive, in the passenger seat. Talk to them about all the things you are seeing and noticing: cars in your blind spot, gaps coming up that you can turn into, hazards on the road. Let them play along, telling you these things as they notice them.
Plan for the Endgame. When they come of age and finally get to drive on their own, have them plan out their first driving destinations on a map and talk to you about the concerns they may encounter along the way. You will likely know most of the potholes along the route; remind them of what is where.
When it’s time for your child to grow and drive a car of their own, we hope you’ll bring them to Brookside “66” Service as their go-to shop for our old-school charm, dedication to customer care, and cutting-edge technology. We love serving our community with the best auto care around. We encourage you to schedule an appointment for your next auto repair or preventive maintenance service today! Brookside “66” Service is located at 6244 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64113. We are open 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM on Monday - Friday.