We want to support our next generation to be forward thinking, confident young adults, don’t we? We want them to be able to stand up in this world and stand on their own two feet. Not raise children that can’t pay a bill, budget or cook a meal without our help. We also send them off to school for a minimum of 13 years to ensure they have the greatest start of all in life – and do it willingly. My parents wouldn’t help me through fear, so it was a friend a couple of years older and about a dozen driving lessons. Thankfully, this generation of parents are more in tune with their children and are willing to help them gain that independence, no matter what direction that may be. So, the question is, how can I start teaching my child to drive?
The reality is 120 hours is mandatory for young people under the age of 21, which I believe is the right way to help make our young adults safer on our roads. That works out to be just one hour and twenty minutes per week. I know what you’re saying. I don’t have the time as we’re always rushing from A to B or, I’m scared they’ll crash the car or, with their brothers and sisters in the car they’ll be too distracted. Yes, time can a factor and yes, siblings can be a major distraction, but like I said, an hour of your time in the early days each week or, just 15 minutes each day 3 or 4 times a week is nominal. And, with daylight savings, the days are now longer!
The first step is to drive them to a quiet area, particularly with a fairly long straight road, if you can. Once you’ve reached your chosen spot, change drivers and go through the below checklist to get started. .
– Show them the cockpit of the car and what everything does.
– Get them to adjust their seat according to their height. Too far back will make reaching the pedals difficult and, too close will have their knees hitting the car dashboard. This would include the incline of the back of the seat. Too far back and they’ll lean forward and end up with a sore back.
– Make sure you’ve shown them which pedal is which. Just because they’ve been in the car with you for years, doesn’t mean they can’t mix up the brake and accelerator.
– Before you’ve even started the car, get them to pivot between pedals without lifting their heel of the floor.
– Once they’ve started the car, get them to practice using the brake and accelerator lightly to just get the car moving (say up to 20 kilometres per hour). Ensure you explain how sensitive or heavy the pedals are of your car, because as we know, all cars are different.
– Once, they’ve got these two actions rather comfortable, encourage them to speed up slowly.
Be consistent with the above dot points. These are the absolute basics to get them at least sitting in the car and moving it at a slow pace. It’s a great way to show them you care enough to also show them how a car works. It’s important to explain the why, not just the how. Also, don’t expect them to use mirrors or be too aware of what’s happening around them. That’s your job in the early days. Learning to control a vehicle and be aware of what’s happening around them for the first few hours can be a great confidence boost.
Another great tip is once they’ve started driving, ensure they still have a look at their road to solo driving book. I know myself, whenever I’m learning something new, being able to combine the theory and practical together, helps it make better sense.
Got any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Whether it be help with being a supervising driver, wanting a senior’s loved one to be assessed on continuing to drive, had an accident and now suffer from anxiety, all of these I can help you with. At Drive Skills 4 Life, we’re not just another driving school. Want to be able to take advantage of a free government funding driving lesson? Go to www.keys2drive.com.au, register your learners details, send me the 8 digit code and ring me on 0422 765 843 to lock in a date and time.
Until next time, Sarah