Kids….They grow up so fast. I remember when people used to tell me that when my kiddos were little and I’d smile and nod my head in the right spots, but in actuality, I was ignoring everything they said. So many people offer advice as you are parenting over the years that most of it you tune out. Then as the kids grow up into becoming young adults I have found that the help sort of stops. I panicked a little when Gabriel officially became a teenager. This is the stage I need advice on. Then he got even older. It was time to start teaching him how to drive. My husband and I looked at each other with nervous smiles. Where is the instruction book for that?! However, I’m actually here to sway your fears. Teaching your teen to drive? It’s not that bad. In fact, it’s kind of fun. So I wanted to share my Top 5 Tips with you.
Have Multiple SAFE Vehicles to Teach In
We have 2 Kia’s. A Cadenza and a Sportage. Each has different safety features I love. I know those vehicles inside and out and it’s the main reason why I feel comfortable letting my son get behind the wheel of either. For example here are some of the safety features of the Cadenza. (pictured above)
The 2017 Cadenza is built upon a strong foundation with a body structure composed of more than 50 percent Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) — more than twice the amount used in the outgoing model, while a driver’s knee airbag brings the total number of airbags in the vehicle to nine.
Bolstering the new Cadenza are cutting-edge driver assistance features such as Advanced Smart Cruise Control with stop-and-go functionality, Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning. Another Kia first is the Smart Blind Spot Detection System which is designed to sense unintentional drifting toward an adjacent vehicle and automatically brakes the opposite side front wheel to help maintain the vehicle’s intended course.
He’s had hours behind both cars mainly because I wanted him to see different features in different cars and to also see how different vehicles handled. It’s important that he realize some cars have more safety features than others and he still has to rely on his own senses and not just on whichever vehicle he happens to be driving. He realized while one has a 360 Cam the other has only a backup cam. The Cadenza’s Blind Spot detection is my personal favorite safety feature and he quickly agreed with me. He also was able to see the difference in driving a SUV vs a sedan. It was one of the smartest decisions we made in the whole process.
Have Multiple People Take a Spin With The Teen
Just like trying out multiple vehicles, I felt it was important for him to learn from a few different adults we trusted. Myself, my husband, and my mother-in-law have all sat in the passenger side giving instructions. I think each person contributed their own knowledge to Gabriel. For instance, I’m one who has trouble parallel parking, but I always keep an extra car length from me and the person ahead of me. Whereas, my husband excels at parking. My mother-in-law was able to take him on certain backroads so he could feel the twists and turns and I took him on the Interstate. He said, “Most of the time you guys said the same thing, but sometimes you showed me a different way of reacting.”
Take Practice Tests Online
Getting a driver’s permit or a license is more than just learning how to drive. It’s knowing about drinking and driving, road signs, proper techniques, rules of the road, etc. Check your local state government website. For example, TN has an online portal where Gabe practiced 4 different tests:
We went to our local DMV and picked up a book that had everything he needed to learn then took the tests online. Tehy are not exactly what will be on the actual test, but they give your teen an idea of what he or she should be studying.
Talk About Technology
Here’s the thing. I was a kid once. Many, MANY years ago. I remember the excitement and wanting to have the best music on. With technology, today texting and driving is one of the biggest killers with driving. I made Gabriel get in the habit of connecting his phone as soon as he buckled his seat belt. He knows to
Practice, Practice, Practice
In the end that’s what makes a good driver. Lots of practice. Having a set of rules and following them, but also allowing for situations to happen and working through them. I can safely say I feel comfortable riding with my 16-year-old. He can merge, parallel park keeps a good distance between himself and the cars around him, uses his blinker, etc. He’s driven in different weather, in daytime and also at night. He’s had hours upon hours behind the wheel of two different vehicles with 3 people helping him further his skills.
He is ready for the road in all the ways he can be. Will I still worry? Of course, because I am his mom. However, I’m also proud of him in more ways than I ever thought I could be. Here’s to all the other fellow parents and guardians teaching teens to drive. You’ll both get through it!
***Disclosure: As a Kia Ambassador I share fun news and info all about Kia and their latest vehicles coming out. I also document #MyKiaLife in our long term Kia. All opinions are 100% mine. ***