Learning to drive is an experience, and Arizona teen drivers will tell you that the only way they can learn is by doing it. Parents and driving instructors alike can deal harsh criticism from the passenger seat, but the best correction is to provide constructive feedback that teaches the teen lessons they’ll actually need.
Here are some tips to help prevent accidents among Arizona teen drivers:
1. Explain Your Role as a Teen Driving Instructor
Let your teen know that your job is to serve as their trainer at this time. Sit in the front so you can actively observe their driving habits and take the wheel if an emergency arises. Remind them that mistakes are normal and that you are there to offer guidance and answer questions – not to criticize them. After all, all drivers had to start out somewhere.
2. Keep Trips Small
When teens are first getting started in the driver’s seat, start with smaller trips and driving safety exercises to help them build confidence as a driver. Find a deserted parking lot at first to help them get used to the gas and brake pedals. Every vehicle’s pedals have a different sensitivity level, so expect a jumpy, bumpy ride as the teen gets used to the amount of pressure needed on the pedals. Empty parking lots also give the teen ample time to practice parking at various turn angles and get acquainted with the parking lot lines.
When you are ready to merge into actual traffic, keep the driving trips within a five mile radius of the teen’s home or school so they can get used to the surface streets where they are most familiar with their surroundings. Allow teens to drive during different times of the day on many types of roads to help them be more affluent in various traffic conditions. Driving in a variety of conditions will help them become more experienced with street light operations and turns, merging lanes, school zones, and much more.
3. Even Tone of Voice Correction
Keep your voice calm and even when you are correcting your student driver. You don’t want them to panic in traffic and cause an accident while distracted. If you catch a particularly dangerous error, have the driver to safely pull over outside of the flow of traffic so you can explain their mistake. Keep the DMV guide with you to also point out documented rules of the driving standard for any correction. This will help prevent the teen from getting defensive and feeling like you are attacking them.
4. Teach Teens Accident Procedures
Accidents happen even with the best of drivers. Talk to your teen about distracted driving and encourage them to stay alert for other drivers that may not be paying attention to the road. Even if your teen is following the safety rules of the road, there may come a point where they will be in an accident. Teach them what to do if that happens.
- Instruct them in the many accident types possible: side-swipe, head-on, single vehicle collision, multiple vehicle, rear ending, pedestrian injuries, etc.
- Explain vehicle movement procedures following a collision. For example, it’s best to move vehicles outside the flow of traffic, but if the vehicle is severely impaired or if there are serious injuries, it is safer for the driver to remain in the vehicle until rescue officers arrive.
- Stress the importance of contacting emergency officials right away.
- Practice exchanging the driver’s license, contact and insurance information after an accident. These details are vital components of accident reports to insurance companies and police officers. Our Scottsdale personal injury lawyers can also use this information when handling an injury claim for negligent driving accidents.
5. Have Teens Participate in Routine Car Maintenance
Driving is a privilege, and vehicles must be maintained to help prevent mechanical defects or fault contributing to accident causes. Allow the teen driver to be hands-on in checking air pressure, fluid levels, light performance and more. The more they practice checking for mechanical faults, the more likely they will remember when they are in charge of the vehicle. Provide personal stories of how your own lack of vehicle maintenance caused a near-accident or actual vehicle collision. Stories are much easier to remember and provide a relational experience for teens.
Above all of these teen driving tips, be a good example. Be more aware of your own driving habits because the teen will emulate you. Dare your teen to point out your own bad driving habits. Not only will they be more aware when on the road, but they will remember these lessons as well.
If you are looking for car accident attorney for your teen in the event of an auto collision, you can count on Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC. Our offices are in Mesa, AZ, but we assist teen drivers involved in auto accidents throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. Use our convenient online contact form or give us a call if you need to pursue an injury claim. You can prepare yourself against auto collisions by reading our many teen driving articles for educational purposes.