How are you teaching your children to drive?

I was driving home today when I noticed a van right behind me. A woman was driving and using her cell phone in heavy local traffic. I was worried about her driving but…

What was she teaching the young man ( about 14 years old)?

While the cell phone was most obvious, how many of us tale gate? Do you all maintain that three second distance while driving?

I suggest that even if you have no children, you should always drive as if your soon to be driving is sitting next to you.

When and if I have a child that manages to reach driving age without being permanently grounded, I hope to teach him not just the defensive driving things that you mention, but also good car control.

Plenty of people are “good” drivers in that they leave plenty of room, and don’t speed, and stay off the phone/avoid eating behind the wheel, etc. But then you get them into an unexpected situation (The tire falls off the trailer in front of you, you have a blowout, or you slide on ice straight at the guy in front of you) and have absolutely no idea how to safely handle the car. The general reaction is to slam on the brakes while making pained faces, when oftentimes it’s better to do something else. (in the above examples, swerve without braking (you’re constantly monitoring what’s around you, right?), accelerate until the car is under control, and on ice, steer without braking so you have the grip to get around him)

I’ve long advocated that driver ed courses should include track work. Get them out there on the autocross track so they know what the car feels like when it’s about to lose control, and when it’s out of control, and they learn how to bring it back under control properly. Then throw oil or ice on the track and do it again. Contrary to encouraging them to race (though that’s not a bad thing either as long as they internalize the idea that you race on tracks, not the street), it would teach them how to instinctively control the car when bad things happen.

She’s just 11 (going on 15), but even now I’m speaking to her about why I do and don’t do things while we’re driving. She’s already asking lots of pertinent questions.

“Why did that cop just wave to you ?”
“Because I had the green light but noticed her coming and stopped to give her the right of way, that was a thank you wave.”

She notices the 5 year old doesn’t have his belt on yet and yells to him to buckle up.
In the parking lot at 2 mph I slam on the brake to make the point. He’s buckled up real quick. The 7 and 11 year olds buckle upright away when getting in the truck.
“how come we have to buckle up”
— "'cuz there’s no other way to do it ! " —
( Yes, I’ve added the safety aspect as well as vehicle control, but they seem to accept that short and simple command best. )

“Why are you slowing down now ?”
"You can see the light over there is red. Am I in a hurry to race up to it only to slam on the brakes ? Naah, heck, if I slow now then the light turns green, I may not even need to brake.

Hoping to get a lot of the hows and whys to become second nature even now so when it’s time for the hands on driving she’ll not have so much racing around in her head.
Even the boys at 5 and 7 are going to pick up a lot of this stuff. So we talk about driving while we drive.

Whether you have children or not, whether you’re teaching someone to drive or not, you should drive as if your life depended on driving safely. Because it does.

My 15 Year-Old Daughter (Youngest Child - People Must Think I’m The Grandpa) Turns 16 In January. I Don’t Come Close To Tail-Gating And Don’t Talk On A phone (I Hate Those Dxxx Things).

Since we’ve got a bunch of cars sitting around, I cover the kids’ insurance, but keep preaching that any accidents, violations, citations, etcetera, that cause any increase in insurance premiums will be assessed against the driver. It worked with my now 23 year-old son. I just keep lecturing about and modeling safe driving until the kids are sick of it.
It’s my way or no highway.