Is the legal driving age creeping up on your and your twins? Read one twin moms’ top 3 tips for when you have a teen driver or 2 in your house.
Remember that feeling when you first found out you were having twins? Shocked, overwhelmed, nervous, maybe even a little scared? Elizabeth Stone once said that making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body. I always loved this quote but I truly felt it when my kids started driving. I imagine it is hard to have just one teen driver, but with two, the anxiety is real, friends. All those feelings that you experienced when you first found out that you were having twins, it’s just like that times ten!
Don’t let the thought of your teen driver checklist overwhelm you
At first you’re shocked that it’s really that time, that they’re old enough to be learning to drive. Then you become overwhelmed by all of the things that go into your teen getting their license. From taking drivers ed, to logging the driving hours, and scheduling the test, there’s a lot to get done! And then once you figure all of that out and you get in the passenger seat for that first time while your child gets behind the wheel, the nerves begin to set in as they slam on the breaks & take the turns too sharply.
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And then just when you thought you’ve gotten through all of the driving lessons and they pass that test, you hand them the keys and start to remember what being scared really feels like. You’ve just watched your heart drive off without you & all you can do is trust that you’ve done everything you could to prepare them so that heart of yours returns safely.
While the shock & nerves of having a teen driver, or in our case TWIN teen drivers can’t be completely avoided, here are my top three tips for making things a little easier for that heart of yours.
1. Call in the experts with a teen driver
Unless you have an extreme amount of patience, and you are completely fearless, get those teens in drivers ed & let an instructor build the foundation. I can assure you that you will absolutely experience at least one moment where you think your life is at risk while in the car with your teen driver and you are yelling at them to pull over immediately so that you can switch spots with them all the while they look at you as if they did absolutely nothing wrong and can’t understand why you are overreacting!
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Let the professionals take over my friends! Many states have requirements for drivers ed courses & logging a certain amount of instructor-led driving hours. These things can also be helpful for both you and your teens. All three of my kids went through drivers ed and came out of it with positive experiences. Often, they can do a classroom or online training. They are going to learn so much more about the rules of the road.
An added bonus to hiring help for your teen driver
Several times, my kids were reminding me of things I had forgotten or didn’t even know. Their favorite game became telling any adult driver what they were doing wrong when they were driving. This told me they were soaking up and retaining every bit of what they were learning. By having someone else teach them the basics we found they were much more confident in their driving. Because of that, we were more comfortable and supportive as they increased their driving. Also, our teens were much less agitated listening to coaching because they had already heard their instructor give them the same feedback.
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2. Pay attention to the time with your teen driver
When you have twin teen drivers, take those driving time logs seriously and make it fun. Yes, it can definitely feel like a big pain to track every minute your teen driver is in the driver’s seat and whether it’s day time or night time, neighborhood roads, or highways. The point is that by the time they fulfill those hours and all of those drive times in different conditions, they should be more than ready to drive solo.
Do yourself a favor right now and get yourself an app! Your drive school or DMV might have one they recommend. Find one where all you have to do is hit start and stop and it does the rest. The one that we had tracked whether it was day or night and what types of roads we were on so we could account for those times and not just the total drive time. It also gave us the option to input weather conditions and notes so that we could have reminders on what we needed to work on in future drives.
The best part for the twins was being able to add multiple kids and watch their progress against each other. We all know twins can be a little competitive! And once those hours had been met it was time to go to the DMV. The app had a print option to get all of those hours printed out nicely so it made the review process very quick and simple.
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3. Defensive driving may be most important for a teen driver
Don’t forget to teach your kid about defensive driving liability. Listen up, kids. Let me tell you right now, there will never be a time that it will be the other persons’ fault because they stopped suddenly and you rear-ended them! If there’s one thing you always do, keep that distance between you and the vehicle in front of you! Once your teen driver learns how to drive and understands all of the rules of the road, the next thing is to teach them that not everyone drives as safely as they should and not everyone follows the rules as they should. Your teen needs to be prepared for this.
Did you know that teens between the age of 16 and 17 have the highest rate of car accidents? These new drivers definitely need the benefits of defensive driving, maybe more than all other age groups.
We probably spent most of our lesson time focusing on what other people could do in any given situation and asking our kids what they would do to prevent an accident. It was pretty common for many drivers to speed around our teens when merging into oncoming traffic. It was a challenge at first to teach them that just because they are first in line it didn’t mean other people wouldn’t speed up around them and cut in front of them. They needed to watch for those impatient drivers and be prepared to let that car pass before they merged over.
Going through different scenarios with them will help them to be more observant and cautious of people they share the road with. Seeing your teen driver react to different situations, stay calm & know what to do will have you feeling more at ease when they’re driving without you.
Teen twins driving you crazy? Try these tips to keep your cool with your teen twins!
Trust that you’ve taught your teen driver well
And when that time comes, that those Twin-agers are ready, take a breath. Know you’ve taught them well and let them show you that they can do this. Your heart will be okay and it might even beat a bit harder with pride as you see them take on this next responsibility in their life.
Shannon Jones is a mom of 3, a 19-year-old son & twin girls that are 17. She works as a Change Management Specialist for an insurance company, preparing people for changes that are coming their way. Making things easier for people to do their jobs during change is her passion. When she’s not working or writing, she loves to travel and capture memories with her kids.