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Nov 11, 2020

5 min. read

If you’ve ever been driven around by your teenager, chances are you were a little unnerved by the experience. (Hello imaginary brakes.) But you don’t need to hold onto the door handle for dear life while your kid is driving. Here are four common mistakes new drivers make and how to correct them.

  • Tunnel vision

  • Problems driving at night

  • Distracted driving

  • Succming to peer pressure


Tunnel Vision

Many young drivers remain fixated on the road directly ahead of them, failing to look left and right, checking their side- or rear-view mirrors or beyond the upcoming intersection. That may cause them to miss important things, like pedestrians coming from their periphery or a collision up the road.

How to address it: Naureen Raziq, the director of Toronto’s Globe Driving Academy, says it’s important to remind teens to constantly check their mirrors, scan the road from left to right, and, on city streets, look three traffic lights ahead.

Problems Driving at Night

Many teens struggle with driving at night because their observation skills are still developing, Raziq says. Tunnel vision that is a minor issue during the day can become a big problem once the sun sets.

How to address it: Continually remind them to scan the road for pedestrians, cyclists and cars. And don’t be shy about correcting their mistakes. Studies show parental instruction, along with driving restrictions, can help dramatically lower a new driver’s chances of getting into an accident during their first 18 months behind the wheel.

Distracted Driving

More than 95 per cent of teens know that distracted driving—which often takes the form of texting and driving—is dangerous, but 35 per cent admit that they still do it. “It’s a huge problem,” says Raziq, who has been a driving instructor for six years. “I’ve had students answer the phone while driving.”

How to address it: Tell them to turn off their mobile phone when driving or at least keep it out of reach. If they don’t know where they’re going, have them review directions before setting off so they’re not tempted to fire up a navigation app. Or, if using a navigation app is necessary, make sure the phone is in a hands-free device on the dash or windshield so that they’re not tempted to touch the phone. Remind them to ignore phone calls and text messages and to only pick up their device once they’re parked in a safe place, with the engine turned off. Finally, model good behaviour by putting down your own phone.

Succumbing to Peer Pressure

our child may be a conscientious driver when they’re with you or when they’re solo. But throw a few friends into the mix and they may be pressured to speed, drive aggressively or commit other driving-related infractions.

How to address it: Remind them that it’s okay to say “no” to their friends and tell them that when they’re behind the wheel, they make the decisions. Also, give them an out. Get your kids to tell their friends that you’ll bar them from driving if they do anything dangerous—and that means their friends won’t have a ride.

Finally, consider signing a family driving agreement outlining what is permitted and what isn’t when your kids are driving alone.

For more information on distracted driving visit caasco.com/distracted. And to find out what particular issues affect older drivers, click here to read the winter 2020 issue of CAA Magazine.

Plus, if you’ve got questions about everything from the value of a used car to when it’s time to change the oil, get in touch with the Auto Advice team.

Image credit: iStock.com/Sladic

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