Teen Driving Safety Week #2: Tips for keeping cool when your child takes the wheel

Connecticut Families

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – During Teen Driving Safety Week, News 8 shares tips about how to control the nerves when your son or daughter starts to drive.

“I’m a little nervous like any kid would be but I think I’ve got it,” says 16-year-old Jack Wiley who is counting down the days until his driving test. He can’t wait to get his license. “It’s a form of independence, it’s my own schedule, I can get to places I couldn’t really get to before,” he says.

“Yeah, I think we all freak out,” says Jack’s dad, John. “We’re nervous about it. It’s a control thing.”

But Avanah Burnett, a seasoned instructor at The Next Street driving school, has advice for us parents about how to keep our cool when we take the passenger’s seat. “I tell them to put on their hat of patience,” she says. “Even though you’re nervous, you don’t have a brake on your side, so you can’t stop them. You have to just be patient.”

Start small, head to a parking lot. “That way you’re not dealing with any other cars, moving fast, beeping at you. That can tend to bring on the nervousness,” she advises, noting you should also set rules at home. “Responsibility is number one, it’s key because if you have a sense of responsibility, you’re going to be a good driver.”

This is important! Be a good role model! “If you want your kid to be a good driver, you have to be a good driver,” says Burnett. “If you’re a texting type of person at the red light, you’ve got to put the phone away because even at the red light, it’s still illegal.”

Jack has participated in the Driver’s Ed classroom work and he’s spent 40 hours practicing in the real world with an instructor, as well as Mom and Dad who he says remained very calm. Now he’s prepared to follow the rules of the road. “I do feel ready, yeah,” he says with a smile. “Just need to practice a little more.”

Lastly, try to have some fun with it. This is a huge milestone for your child and a great bonding experience as the teaching transpires. Good luck!

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