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You can teach your teen to be a safer driver using this advice.

There are few things in parenting that are more difficult than teaching your teen to drive. Even with an instructor-led Driver’s Ed course, or an at-home online course taught by parents, the process is stressful. To make matters worse, you may do all those hours of practice without really making your teen into a safer driver. Too many parents don’t think strategically about practicing driving with their teens. So, here are some better ways you can practice driving with your teen.

Build their confidence.

It can be tempting to criticize every sharp turn, or hard stop, that your teen makes while driving. However, if it’s not a critical safety issue (like missing a stop sign) it might be worth it to hold your tongue. You’ll want your teen to be confident in their driving skills. A nervous driver isn’t a good driver. Also, make sure to compliment them on maneuvers that they do well.

Teach non-routine driving.

Practicing usual routes around town during the days is extremely important, and it should be the first step in teaching teens to drive. However, it’s also important to show them how to drive more challenging routes. The student needs to know how to drive safely on a route they don’t know well, so take them to parts of town they don’t know or have them drive on the family road trip. Also, make sure to train your teen to drive at night, and in bad weather.

Criticize carefully.

Teens are notorious for being defensive and moody, so tread light while teaching your teen to drive. Avoid vague criticisms like “you always drive too quickly.” Instead, keep it to specific criticisms that your teen can work on, like “I think you should brake more while turning.” This behavior will hopefully prevent emotionally-charged blow ups from happening in the car.

Teach defensive driving.

There’s a lot more to safe driving than just maneuvering the car. You’ll also want to train your teens in avoiding potential hazards. It is as simple as teaching them to take the “path of least resistance” meaning they avoid routes that are unnecessarily difficult (avoid unprotected left turns when you can). It also means teaching them things like slowing down in pedestrian areas. Simple tips can make them much safer drivers.

At Rico Aviation, we honor a commitment to keeping families safe and healthy. As a medical aviation provider, we pride ourselves on caring for your loved ones in emergencies. With an Air Methods Advantage Membership, the annual membership payment ensures that covered family members enrolled in the program will not have to pay anything over and above the amount paid by their health insurance provider for a medically-necessary transport provided by one of our Rico Aviation Air Ambulances.

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