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Coaching Your Teen's Driving
Learning to drive is a complex, ongoing process that requires patience and dedication. Teaching someone to drive is too.
Be a Model and Coach
As their role model and coach, they will watch what you do and look to you for your guidance and expertise. The law requires you to certify that your teen has spent a minimum of 50 hours behind the wheel when he or she applies for a Level 2 Intermediate License. At a minimum, 10 of those hours must be at night. Either you or another responsible licensed adult 21 years old or older must always occupy the front passenger seat. Here are tips for making those hours productive and pleasant.
Model Safe Driving
Teens learn what they observe. Be a good role model and follow the rules of the road.
Practice a lot
Practice as much as possible. You and your teen should be the only people in the vehicle.
Get in the mood
Only practice when you are both ready, in good moods and have plenty of time.
Plan your routes ahead of time
While your teen is driving, be able to communicate your intentions clearly before your teen executes any of your requests. For example, "turn right" is a bad request. "Turn right at the next corner" is a better request.
Learning to drive can be overwhelming - for your teen and for you. Begin with the basics, such as turning, parking and backing up. When you both feel comfortable, consider progressing to more advanced skills such as merging, changing lanes and parallel parking.
Begin practicing during the day, in good weather. As your teen improves, gradually start driving during different driving conditions, including a variety of times of day, weather and types of roads.
Don't rush into rush hour
Start with safe, low-risk driving conditions, such as empty parking lots and quiet rural roads. Gradually make progress to neighborhood streets with little traffic, then busier roads and highways.
Talk with your teen
Keep the lines of communication open so your teen feels comfortable talking with you. This builds trust and respect.
Take deep breaths
Remember, new drivers need a lot of practice. Making mistakes is part of learning. Remain calm and focused. Teens will show the greatest improvement in the first 1,000 miles to 5,000 miles of driving.
Michigan's Graduated Driver Licensing: A Guidelines for Parents
You cannot take this website with you; however, the Michigan's Graduated Driver Licensing: A Guide for Parents contains valuable information on graduated driver licensing, driver education, coaching tips for parents and more. Please take the time to read and use this valuable resource.
Driving Skills Test Study Guide and Driving Log
Recording behind-the-wheel practice sessions will help to better assess and analyze time spent behind the wheel. Use the log found in the appendix of the Driving Skills Test Study Guide to record driving sessions. Take as long as necessary to ensure that your teen is ready to take the driving skills test and is prepared to navigate the roads solo.
What Every Driver Must Know
What Every Driver Must Know contains information about operating a motor vehicle safely on Michigan roads and is one of the tools used to teach teen drivers through Michigan driver education programs. It is also an excellent source to review or brush up on skills.
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