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Over the past couple years we’ve been working towards the first driving permit and drivers license in our house for the boys. We’ve been doing things since well beyond that first permit to begin teaching them about driving safety. Our partners at GM let us borrow a 2019 GMC Sierra Denali for a week and we used it as an opportunity to go pick up an old truck my grandpa had for Parker at his house up north and teach the boys about towing along the way.
Teaching Teens About Driving Safety Beyond Traditional Lessons
I actually signed Parker up for traditional drivers ed and in-car lessons with a professional but we wanted to make sure we covered all kinds of extra life experiences and driving safety with them. Here are some ways that you can teach your teens (or older kids) about driving safety in the years leading up to their license and while they navigate the new world of driving.
- Talk to them while you drive. Tell them what you’re doing and why. Talk about road signs and different situations that come up as you drive around.
- Have them talk to you while you drive. Things like telling you when they think it’s safe to turn or how to position the wheels when you park on a hill.
- Have them help with maintenance and even problem solve along with you if you’re doing it.
- Show them how you pack up the car when you go on a road trip and talk about safety precautions you might take or what extra supplies you might add to the car.
- Use snow or rain to talk to them about driving in different conditions. Here in Phoenix, we have to worry about monsoons and sandstorms so when they rolled through last year we talked to the boys about what to do. We also took the time to show them water in a roadway and when you should be cautious or not cross a road at all and why.
- Let them play with the navigation or Infotainment systems and ask questions.
- Have them help with things you don’t do very often like towing. It’s a great time to talk to them about weights, ratings, how to find them for your vehicle or whatever it is in tow. While you’re driving is the perfect time to talk them through how you might drive differently when towing.
Basically, think way ahead and start those conversations early. The more you talk about it and work through different situations as they come up, the more they can store away in their heads. They won’t remember everything but you’d be surprised what they do retain. Especially when they can help!
Picking up my teens first truck
Since we had the 2019 Sierra Denali for a week we thought it was the perfect opportunity to go pick up a truck my grandpa had for Parker. He lives up in Williams, AZ (the gateway to the Grand Canyon) so we used the weather app on the GMC Infotainment System to track the live doppler since they were expecting snow storms all weekend.
We drove up, had lunch, played in the snow a bit, and learned quite a bit about towing, weight distribution, and even driving in a bit of snow (not something many kids from the desert get to do very often). If we had a question about something we’d have the boys look it up to tell us. GMC even has a trailering guide so I had them start there.
While we drove back home we talked about when and why you might use 4 wheel drive or low gear. We all learned something on the little trip and pretty much all fell in love with the Sierra. The boys always love having in-car wifi but they really loved the space and features we learned about while we drove.
Our big test on whether a vehicle will work for our family or not is if 6ft + tall son can sit comfortably in the back. I couldn’t believe the room in this thing. Look how much room there is and the front passenger seat is pushed ALL the way back!
I don’t know that I’m ever going to be ready for the boys to be out driving in the world, but I am more than happy to do anything I can to make sure they are safe, and enjoy driving around as much as I do!