My family didn’t own a car when I was growing up, so when it came time for me to learn how to drive at the age of 17, it was an extremely difficult concept for me to grasp. I just had NO idea, let alone driving tips passed down to me.
I didn’t have the first clue about clutches or brakes or indicators or well, anything really. I mean, I would still marvel at the retractable seatbelt when I first started getting into my friend’s cars. It sounds like I grew up in 1921 but I didn’t. We were just one of those families that didn’t own a car.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Nissan. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in her own words.
So when it came time for me to learn how to drive, it was, shall we say, difficult. The only person in my family that was available to teach me at the time was my brother. And let’s just say he wasn’t nor is he still, known for his patience. So instead, I had, and I do not exaggerate here, 52 driving lessons with an instructor. 52! I spent nearly as much money learning how to drive as I did on my first car.
Now days of course, there is a totally different system. 120 hours must be spent driving with someone supervising, a record kept to validate this and more years spent on your P-Plates than ever before. This is only a good thing as I can honestly say that I still had no idea what I was doing when I passed my driving test on my first try, despite the fact that I went through a red light and ran up the gutter at the RTA. Yet, there I was, free to drive the mean streets of the Gold Coast with absolutely no solo driving skills whatsoever. How I made it through that first year alive is still a mystery to me. And I certainly do NOT want my daughter who although is at this stage still only 14, to be as useless as I was.
So now that I will have the responsibility of teaching my daughter how to drive, what driving tips and wisdom do I wish to impart? The fundamentals will of course, be uniform. They have to be. The rules around indication, roundabout use, all the technical and necessary information will be taught by the authorities and then reinforced by us at home. My number one priority is to ensure that my children will be safe on the road and just as important, safe for their fellow road users. So I will try to try and teach with the following driving tips in mind:
1. Shouting will not teach a Child How to Drive.
A parent’s first reflex, especially when faced with possible death at the hands of a free wheeling teen in the driver’s seat is to yell. And to yell loudly. Ironically, a teenager’s first reaction is to do the exact opposite of what you are telling them when faced with aggression. I KNOW this won’t be easy, but I am really going to try not to shout. Or scream. Or generally raise my voice.
I will do my best to sternly, if necessary, tell her to calmly pull the car over and then explain to her what it is she did wrong. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I will want her to look up to me as a driver with wisdom, not a drill sergeant.
2. Take them driving in a large, open, deserted car park
The ‘sink or swim’ policy does NOT work with a new driver. There is absolutely no advantage to taking your child onto the open free way and then expecting them not to freak out. They need a large area where they can do little damage and with little distraction. The little things can be learned this way. Braking, turning, indicating, using your mirrors, REVERSE parking, even just simply parking in a normal car park situation, something I see so many people with reversing cameras and all the bells and whistles STILL struggling with. It’s all about building confidence because once they have self-belief, they will be safer drivers, and that is better for everyone on the road.