Unlike when swotting up for certain academic exams, youngsters often feel motivated by the benefits of being able to drive; the independence, fun and the perceived glamour of riding around in a car are powerful forces. Therefore, it may not be too difficult to get your pre teen interested in doing some preparatory work in readiness for when they start driving for real and take driving lessons.
Whilst my two are still a little young for driving time seems to be going by very quickly and it won't be long before they are asking to learn to drive. They are both already showing an interest in the car and asking what everything does, as well as what the different road signs mean.
As they get older what other driving preparation is possible?
The bible for learner drivers and other road users, the Highway Code is a great way of getting your pre-teen used to the idea of being safe on the road. Your pre-teen may already have had basic dealings with Highway Code related topics such as when learning to cross the road properly and safely, or maybe they took cycling proficiency lessons and a test. If so, basic road use would have been taught.If not, enrolling them on a cycling proficiency course (known as the National Standards for Cycle Training and branded Bikeability) will serve them well in learning and putting into practice the rules of the road. Learning how to use roads safely, recognising road signs and anticipating and responding to other road users’ actions will all help develop the natural instincts they’ll need when behind the wheel later in life.
Perhaps when you’re out and about with them in the car, ask them questions such as “what’s the speed limit on this road?” or “what’s that road sign we just passed?” and get them to look them up in their Highway Code. If another driver does something incorrect such as fail to indicate when turning, ask your pre-teen what was wrong with that other driver’s action. Getting the basic building blocks of good practice laid out need not wait until your son or daughter is old enough for lessons.
Driving theory test
As you’re likely aware, there is a driving theory test as part of the overall driving test. Using online resources, your pre-teen could start having a look at the type of questions they’ll be answering when the time comes. The freely available nature of the material online means there’s no reason why an eager would-be driver cannot be ready to take their theory test straight away – saving time when it comes to try to pass and get on the roads.
Practical - basic car operation
Get your pre-teen used to the layout of the car and its controls. Things like indicators, lights and using dipped and main beam can be shown. You can back this up by explaining when and why you’re using certain controls when you’re out in the car with them.Explain when you change gear - get them involved by asking them to tell you when you should change gear based on the engine note.
The basic learning steps can be fun and will certainly give your pre-teen a good grounding for when they drive a car themselves. A worthwhile exercise. Any driving related activities you can undertake with your pre-teen will help when the time comes for them to learn to drive. Not only that, but it can be fun and interesting for them, too. Whisper it quietly but it might also help you to ensure you don’t slip into any poor habits while they’re watching…
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