I was recently thinking back to days of learning to drive. Most 17 year olds are eager to jump in the car and get started. Personally, I wasn’t that eager but from listening to some conversations of teens at the bus stop over the last few years, it would seem that they just can’t wait to get a car (ahem for reasons not necessarily linked to driving!!).
How to Tell When Your Child is Ready to Learn to Drive
Just because your teen expresses an interest in learning to drive doesn’t mean they are ready to do so. After all, didn’t that toddler at age two or three pretend to be driving while at play? So then, if being interested in learning to drive doesn’t mean your child is ready to learn, how can you tell they are? There should be a few tell-tale signs that indicate readiness, which you can easily learn to spot.
Driving Lessons for Children
Until your teen is 17, they won’t be getting a driving licence in the UK, but there are schools that teach driving to children as young as 8 years of age. Few countries around the world actually offer classes like these and so you should take advantage of them whenever possible. Why? These instructors will tell you when it comes near the time to take the actual revised driving theory exam whether or not your child is ready and responsible to be behind the wheel of a car. That is the key right then and there. If they cannot be trusted to be responsible enough to be a safe driver, they are not ready. Who would know better than a teacher who has been working with them all along?
Father Knows Best
There was an old American television show way back in the mid-1990s called Father Knows Best. In this show, the children were always getting themselves into situations that dad had to help them out of. Sometimes they didn’t listen and things got out of control quite quickly. This can be similar to seeing whether or not your child is ready to learn to drive. How often do they come to you for help figuring out real-life situations that a bit of thought would help them resolve? How often do they actually take time our of their schedule to practice their driving theory? If you feel your child doesn’t have the cognitive skills to be a safe driver and you have noticed that they are not doing as well as they should on the theory portion when studying, go with your instinct.
I remember when my Dad taught me to drive… it didn’t go down well! I think we were too close and it ended up in blazing rows! NOT what you need behind the wheel. So in the end I opted for professional driving lessons. Should have done that from the start – would have saved a lot of tears!
They Understand the Very Real Difference between Good and Safe
Another misconception many young drivers have is to consider a good driver a safe driver. Just because you can navigate quickly around cones without skidding off the road doesn’t mean you will be a safe driver behind the wheel. A safe driver knows enough not to try navigating those cones in inclement weather, but a good driver may wish to show off his or her skills. Being good doesn’t give you the logical thought processes necessary to being safe. If you feel your child is a good driver but not yet a safe driver, he or she is definitely not ready to be licenced.
Take the time to really know your child’s driving skills before letting them behind a wheel. While it may take some amount of time to help them understand the difference between good and safe, it is your role as a parent to ensure their safety and the safety of others around them. When they are a safe driver, they are ready to take their driving test.
Teaching My Girls to Be Safe Drivers
I know my girls are only 3 and 1.5 but it’s not too early to teach them road safety. My eldest has recently got a scooter which she loves but she fails to review her hazards and so goes careering into people’s legs. She most definitely is not a safe driver at the moment! When the day comes that they start to drive, I will be making sure that they seek professional help! I will not be putting them (or me) through the self learning experience that I had because I don’t want the heartache!
Have you got children of driving age? How were they taught? How did you assess when they were ready to learn to drive?
(This is a collaborative post)