Driving: Is Your Teen Ready?
We ask a simple question every time a parent is asking to sign their teenage son or daughter up for behind the wheel: “On a scale of one to five, how would you rate their ability to drive?” Often, the answer is two or three. Rarely does someone answer five, and more often than not, the answer is one.
This question is posed for a number of reasons. First, we want to hear from the parents how they feel their son or daughter is doing and what their capabilities are. Secondly, we ask as a gauge to let our instructors know beforehand what they can expect so that they can prepare. Lastly, we ask because we want to stir up thoughts about a teen’s true driving abilities. The statistics are sobering. Automotive crashes remain a top cause of death for teens, distracted driving is on the rise, the hustle and bustle of daily life is increasing.
Too many factors are now in play that can have a negative impact on a teenager’s ability to properly learn the rules of the road, such as safe, defensive driving techniques and the ability to not be influenced by peer pressure to take unnecessary risks.
The proliferation of technology, such as small, high definition video cameras found on smart phones and from brands such as GoPro, and the ability to quickly post videos on the internet, has turned far too many drivers into daredevils. The internet (YouTube, especially) is full of videos of dangerous, and often illegal, driving activity by drivers young and old.
Unfortunately, many young drivers don’t make the connection that the driving they may see on TV during a NASCAR race is being performed by professionals, with years of training and experience, in highly-complex machines built specifically for the track they are on. There’s a tremendous difference between a car a professional is driving during a Sunday afternoon race, and a car that was purpose built as a commuter vehicle to get you up and down the interstate, back and forth to work.
So we ask this question during the initial enrollment to not only get a gauge, but to also help parents honestly consider their child’s physical driving skills, as well as their mental maturity behind the wheel. We prefer to get an honest answer. If the parent believes the skills are low, we want to know. If they feel they are good, we want to know that too. If they believe there are areas for improvement, we want to know about them.
Sometimes, private driving lessons with one of our professional instructors may be a better step as opposed to immediately starting behind the wheel. This gives us the opportunity to spend more time talking to your son or daughter, getting their input and feedback, hearing their concerns and working with them to develop their skills.
We fully understand teens are eager and excited to start driving. They’ve waited for sixteen years to do so, but, if it means improving their safety (and that of others), a few more weeks or months won’t hurt.
Visit our Private Lessons page or contact us directly for more information and to learn more about what we can do to help your teenage son or daughter prepare for the road ahead.