Learning To Drive A Parents Perspective

By John Robertson

As rites of passage go, they don't come very much bigger than learning to drive. It marks a definite pivotal moment in an adolescent's life when they take their first tentative steps towards striking out by themselves. The ever-considerate parent is forced to go through this with them, and it's generally with no small amount of stress. You sit next to them in the car and try to ignore the distressing sounds coming from your cars gearbox and the distinctive smell of burnt clutch. Frankly, it's quite an effort. You are also expected to do this while remaining positive and supportive, and alert enough to avert potential hazards.

These things said, the role of the patient parent in every novice drivers lives is a crucial one. The art and science of driving on modern roads is ten percent technique, eighty percent experience, and ten percent sheer good luck! Practice does, indeed, make perfect and as an experienced road used you should be well aware of the various risks. It is your job to impart this crucial knowledge. Or pay for hundreds of hours of lessons!

You time with them in the car then, is to be expected to be pretty stressful! But the secret to minimising the amount of anxiety, for both driver and passenger, is careful preparation. Plan each session to cover a particular skill, and try to follow what they are learning in the proper driving lessons. This will give a valuable opportunity to reinforce what they have learnt.

As mentioned, experience is by far the best teacher so try to arrange your sessions to take in a range of conditions. This applies equally to road conditions, such as driving during rush hour start-stop traffic, as to weather conditions. Don't forget the crucial lessons in night driving and multi-lane carriageways. Try to take in a range of different roads covering a range of different speeds.

My tip is to give particular attention to the sort of roads you have around your home, where the novice driver will spend most of their time after passing their test. For example, I grew up in a quite rural area but did my lessons after finishing work for day in a nearby city. Most of my driving was actually done on narrow country. The very particular skill set required for this wasn't even touched upon by my instructor.

The first place you should take the new driver ought to be a deserted car park. This allows a wide-open space where the basic manoeuvres and skills can be perfected. These might be braking and turning. If possible, lay out a makeshift course with any traffic cones that can be found lying about. With just a bit of imagination you can create an opportunity to practice gear changes, around corner reversing, and the feared parallel park, in safety.

One very important area you can certainly help with is simple car maintenance checks. These are never covered by typical driving instructors, and as teens will spend at least some of their time driving your car, it would certainly pay to ensure they have the skills to deal with some simple issues. We're talking about such things as changing the wheel in he event of a flat tyre, where to find the jack, and how to check the various fluid levels rather than full engine rebuilds here!

In short, if thing are kept well structured and simple you should both really enjoy this time. Make lessons out of the mistakes that will crop up and tackle things with the right attitude and this may become something of a bonding opportunity. - 29952

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