Preparing a first-time driver to hit the road

preparing a first-time driverMy daughter is in the process of getting her driver’s license. She’s my third child, so I’ve been through this before. My older two kids are boys, but there’s not really anything different about going through the driver training process with a girl. Except when I send her to the store she will know the right kind of chocolate to get me. (Trick question–all chocolate is the right kind of chocolate.)

  1. Here are some of the ways we are preparing our daughter to own the road. 1. Basic auto maintenance My parents taught me how to change a tire and check a car’s fluids before I was ever allowed to drive by myself. Even with today’s computer-run vehicles, there are some basics every driver needs to know. The owner’s manual for your family car is a great place to start. 2. Your family’s rules for car usage Is driving a right or a privilege in your house? Determine before the first time the keys are handed over what the rights and responsibilities for car usage are. This is an easier conversation to have before there are problems. Clear communication will prevent misunderstanding and disappointment later. Can you believe some people don’t know they shouldn’t return a car with the gas tank empty? 3. Disaster preparedness Don’t count on driver’s ed to teach your kid what to do in case of a weather emergency or an accident. What happens when it’s time for them to drive home and the weather is worsening? What should they do when the car breaks down on the Interstate or a back road? If you don’t have the right answers, a little internet research will help you with the basics. Make sure your inexperienced driver has the information she needs. 4. Talk about distracted driving Sure, they know it’s wrong to drive impaired, but be clear about texting, talking on the phone, and even when they take eyes off the road to change the radio station. One way I’ve done this is by modeling good behavior. When I am driving, my phone is either zipped in my purse or entrusted to one of them as my “Phone Captain”. Phone Captain checks any necessary phone activity and answers calls that come in while I pay attention to driving. 5. Set up Life360 Since they already have smart phones, my children use the Life360 app to check in at a friend’s house or on a babysitting job. A one-touch check in lets me know when they arrive or leave. And with our premium membership, I know they’ll have the Live Advisor service if they ever need emergency assistance. It provides them and me with peace of mind. Mostly me, but still.

In the seven years since my oldest got his license, a lot has changed with technology. He didn’t even have a flip phone until after he started driving. Now amazing tech is in every book bag. Use it to help inform and protect your new driver.