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Parent Tips for Observing Your Teen Driver

These are tips I give parents when they begin Supervised Driving

--New drivers should not drive more than 20 minutes for at least the first 10 hrs.

--Having your student drive to school in the morning during rush hour is not recommended. There will be plenty of time to do 50 hrs in no less than 6 months.

--Careful not give too many tips and suggestions. The student may stop listening or get upset - both are not good.

--Mistakes will be made. Turn telling into asking. “How could you have done that better?”.

--Feel free to position yourself where you can grab the wheel with your left hand.

--Overcommunicate. Tell them about lanes ending, road hazards, and other potential issues. Don’t be afraid to say “cover the brake”.

--Try to drive on the highway after at least 10 hours of street driving. Ultimately this is your decision but waiting too long could negatively affect all their highway training they received.

--For long road trips the student should not drive more than 30 minutes. Students do not have the driving endurance to drive for long periods of time. In training we normally stop every 30 minutes. Also pay attention to lane changes. Students are more likely to develop bad lane change habits (quick lane changes skipping important steps) on a long road trip.

--Never have a destination with a time frame. Saying “We have 20 minutes to get to the theatre” is not good. Students are not used to this kind of driving. You should always have plenty of time to get anywhere. Leave earlier. If this is something you struggle with, take the opportunity to build a new habit of leaving earlier. In training I stress that most wrecks happen because people are in a hurry (speeding, tailgaiting, quick lane changes, impulsive/impatient driving, rolling stops). If you drive this way it could contribute to your child getting seriously injured or killed. While they may still drive poorly even though you drive pretty good - they will definitely adopt your bad habits if you have any.

--Take over driving when you start feeling frustrated or nervous. If your frustrated or nervous it will affect your students driving. They want you to be calm and confident. This is very challenging even for me.

--Student have a tough time gauging how close they are to a street. They simply don’t inch out far enough. This could frustrate you. Just say “let’s go out a little further covering the brake”.

--After 10 hrs start using street names when giving directions encouraging students to learn the streets.

--Give good directions. "In 1 mile we are turning right." This is so they can get into the correct lane early and safely. You can add more specific directions the closer you get to the turn.

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