A learner’s permit or license will legally let your teen get behind the wheel, but your guidance will be crucial to keeping him or her safe. One easy way to get your teen experience in new situations, conditions and environments is to take a different route each time you drive together.
Many parents take advantage of daily driving errands to give their teens more time behind the wheel, whether you’re letting your teen drive you to the grocery store, the post office or the doctor’s office. But when we drive to the same places via the same routes, we sometimes allow ourselves to zone out and pay less attention than if we were driving somewhere for the first time.
You can help your teen combat this complacency by having him or her take different paths to these regular destinations. Though some routes may take longer than others, they help your teen gain a better understanding of the local roads and get experience with traffic, construction and other driving issues. Most important, it will teach your teen to always scan the road for hazards and to use caution each time he or she gets behind the wheel, whether it’s the first or the 50th time.
Practice: While driving with your teen in the car, have him or her pick a destination and then you can choose an out-of-the-way route to get there. Throughout the drive, ask your teen to try and orient where you both are in relation to your starting point. Not only will this keep your teen focused, it will also help build his or her sense of direction. Once your teen gets some experience behind the wheel, continue this habit so he or she doesn’t ‘zone out’ during practice lessons.