Teach your teen to drive using Star Wars

Teaching your teen to drive can be a stressful time for both the teen and yourself as a parent. Your teen wants to prove they are capable and independent and you want to prepare them for the road ahead as best as you can.

Fortunately, the Star Wars franchise offers some timeless wisdom regarding how best to teach your teen to drive.

Has there been a disturbance in the Force?

You’ve watched your child turn into a teenager before your eyes, so you should have a sense of when you think your teenager is ready to get behind the wheel. Feel free to express that feeling but let your teen take the initiative to ask for assistance.

Let’s get it started

Before you have even hit the road, make sure your teenager is comfortable in their seat. Adjust the mirrors, seats and steering wheel to fit their size and acquaint them with some of the features of the car.

Proper hand placement

Always good to remember that hands on the wheel should be at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock.

Everybody likes a complement

Positive reinforcement makes good habits stick. Finding things to correct about your teen’s driving will be easy, especially at first. Do your best to highlight the things they are doing well!

Hard work and focus is all you need

Always ensure you are keeping your young driver aware of their surroundings. Ask questions to keep their attentive to the road ahead and give them plenty of notice before giving directions.

Positive you must be

Your role as a parent is to give your child the confidence to grow up to be their own person. The same is true behind the wheel. If you are getting frustrated, your teenager is going to have a harder time following your instructions. Give your teenager the confidence to be a good driver by keeping a level head.

Avoid adverse driving conditions

Keep it simple at first. Start off in daylight and good weather in an empty parking lot. Once they’re more comfortable, move on to a quiet residential area and then, if they’re ready, challenge them a little on the streets with heavier traffic. Remember, the number of times you drive with your teen is more important than the amount of time in each session. In the beginning, limit your practice time to 15 to 20 minutes at a time. As your teen’s confidence increases, you can extend practice times.

Set a good example.

Follow good driving practices when you’re in the drivers seat. If you try to beat the yellow light or make abrupt lane changes, so will your teen.

Checklist

Here is what your teenager should comfortably be able to do before taking a driver’s test:

How to turn on and off headlights

How to turn on and off and to adjust windshield wipers

What the various lights on the dashboard mean

Stop the car smoothly

Shift gears if using a manual transmission

Use mirrors and check blind spots

Safely back the car up straight

Scanning for, identifying and obeying traffic signs

Keeping a safe following distance when in traffic

Navigate safely through an intersection, including those with signals, four-way stops, two-way stops and uncontrolled intersections

Make a smooth and safe lane change

Operate within posted speed limits

Safely cross railroad tracks

Park safely on a hill—facing uphill and facing downhill

Safely parallel park

Make a safe U-turn

Make a safe three-point turn

How to fuel the vehicle, check the oil, and inflate the tires

What to do in case of an accident

May the Force be with you.

Teaching your teen to drive can be a harrowing experience, but it doesn’t have to be. You can make a huge difference in your teen’s driving, now and in the future by keeping a level head, building skill by skill and by appreciating the cinematic masterpiece that is Star Wars.