Mom & Dad, Don't Forget The Mental Part of Driving!by William Hogan on 02/06/20
In our work with teen drivers in more than 16 years now, we're almost always faced with one consistent reality. New drivers pick up the physical part of driving much faster than the mental part! And just as often, their parents aren't focusing enough on that side of the "equation" when they're out riding with their son or daughter while they have their permits. Understandably, most parents first concern is that their child won't run their vehicle into a tree, or the oncoming car, or the pedestrian at the corner. We understand this initial fear! But with almost 100% of the students we've ever worked with, the teen driver gets significantly more accomplished at the physical side of driving, ie, vehicle control, than they get at the mental side or decision making part of driving. This is mostly about one general idea, Right of Way rules! Your teen can have better physical control of the vehicle than you do, but if they're making the wrong right-of-way decisions, it's only a matter of time till you get one of those terrible phone calls that you don't want from your child, or worse yet from someone else about your child being in a traffic accident! So we suggest being very cognoscente of that when you're with them. As you approach a left turn, stop sign, yield sign, etc., ask them before they're right in the middle of it "who's turn is it"? Get them to think about this so that if they give you the wrong answer, you're there to correct them and talk through it. This is what we predominately focus on in our behind-the-wheel training with the idea of making sound mental decisions in the driving task.