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Ways to Prepare Your Child to Drive Before They Have a Permit


Starting early with driving acclimation for teenagers is crucial. Many states and driving schools require some on-road driving experience before they get their learner’s permit or enroll in certified instruction classes. Introducing kids to the basics of driving early helps them become comfortable behind the wheel.

Steps to Acclimate Teenagers to Driving:
  • Let Them Sit in the Driver’s Seat:

    Park the car, keep the engine off, and allow your child to sit in the driver’s seat. Let them explore the controls, adjust the seat, and press the pedals to get familiar with the driver’s perspective without starting the engine.

  • Show Them the Controls:

    After they’re comfortable, explain the essential parts: seatbelt, pedals, PRNDL shifter, headlights, dashboard gauges, and mirrors. Teach them where to locate these controls and how to use them.

  • Quiz Them on the Controls:

    Test their knowledge with scenarios that require them to identify and use controls correctly. Correct any misunderstandings and reinforce learning.

  • Drive and Narrate:

    Have them watch you drive while you narrate your actions and decisions. This helps them understand real-world applications of the controls and driving practices.

  • Watch Instructional Videos:

    Use YouTube and free online curricula, like the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Teen Driving Plan Practice Guide, to supplement hands-on learning with visual aids and real-world driving scenarios.

  • Start the Engine:

    Teach them how to properly start and stop the car engine, observing the dashboard indicators.

  • Practice in a Parking Lot:

    Begin with simple tasks like driving straight and braking, then progress to turns, parking, and maneuvering around obstacles. Ensure they master each technique before moving on.

  • Drive in Bad Weather:

    Expose them to driving in various weather conditions to understand how different elements affect driving.

  • Read the Vehicle Owner’s Manual:

    Encourage them to read the car’s manual to learn detailed information about the vehicle.

By introducing these techniques early, teenagers develop muscle memory and confidence, making highway and city driving easier and safer when they reach the learner’s permit phase.
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