It’s time to hand over the keys and relegate yourself to the passenger seat in a fit of nerves – there’s nothing easy about teaching your teenager to drive! This big milestone brings a mix of emotions as your child paves the way to independence and you learn to ‘let go’ just a little more. Here’s how to turn this big task into a rewarding experience for everyone, with some handy hints about the best roads for teaching a learner driver on the North Shore.
Learning to drive is a significant milestone in a teenager’s life, marking a step towards independence and adulthood. As a parent, it’s so much more than simply handing over the key. It’s your job to actively guide and teach your child to become a safe and responsible driver. It’s an opportunity to share driving skills but also life lessons on responsibility, attentiveness and decision-making. Choosing the right spots for practice sessions on the North Shore play a key role in this big job.
Before you hit the road
In NSW, the journey to becoming a licensed driver begins at the age of 16. This is the minimum age at which teenagers can apply for their learner licence.
Once your teenager has their learner licence, they must complete a minimum of 120 logged driving hours before they can take the driving test for a provisional licence. These hours must include at least 20 hours of night driving.
As a supervising driver, you play a critical role in your teenager’s learning journey. The supervising driver must:
- Hold a full Australian driver’s licence.
- Be seated in the front passenger seat at all times when the learner is driving.
- Not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Ensure that the L-plates are displayed clearly on the front and rear of the vehicle.
Learner drivers in NSW must adhere to specific restrictions to ensure their safety and that of other road users. These include:
- A maximum speed limit of 90 km/h.
- No towing of trailers or caravans.
- Zero blood alcohol concentration.
- No use of mobile phones, including hands-free devices, while driving.
Preparing your teenager
Teaching your teenager to drive involves nurturing the right mindset, developing essential skills, and creating a supportive learning environment. As a parent, your approach can greatly influence your teenager’s driving attitudes and behaviours.
- Patience is Key: Learning to drive can be a stressful experience for a teenager. Display patience and understanding. Remember, mistakes are part of the learning process.
- Effective Communication: Clear, calm, and constructive communication is vital. Give instructions in a straightforward manner and offer feedback that is both helpful and encouraging.
- Empathy and Encouragement: Put yourself in their shoes. Recognize the challenges they face and provide reassurance and support.
- Staying Calm Under Pressure: Your reactions to stressful situations on the road will be observed and potentially mimicked. Stay calm and composed, especially in challenging driving conditions.
Best roads for teaching a Learner driver on the North Shore
When your teenager first gets their L’s, you’ll need to find some roads that are super quiet while you teach them the basics of accelerating, steering and breaking. Stay away from busy neighbourhood streets and definitely don’t go near a highway until they are much more confident behind the wheel (and have perhaps had a few lessons with a driving instructor).
The best spots to learn to drive are generally large carparks, industrial areas and cemeteries – during ‘off peak’ times. This might be at the weekend or late in the evening.
Mums from our Facebook group suggested their trusted spots to teach their teenager to drive:
- Roseville Chase Oval carpark, off Ormonde Road, Roseville
- Macquarie University Parking lot: “There’s plenty of empty parking spaces in evening/weekend. Perfect place to practice turning and parking and driving.”
- Lane Cove Business Park, Orion Road, Lane Cove “We started up Orion Road past the gymnastics place.“
- Macquarie Park Cemetery, Cnr Delhi and Plassey Roads North Ryde
- Northern Suburb’s Cemetery, 199 Delhi Road, North Ryde
- Bobbin Head, North Turramurra
- Canoon Netball Courts, South Turramurra
- Pennant Hills Park, 25X Britannia St, Pennant Hills
- Mount Ku-ring-gai industrial area, Beaumont Road
- Sydney Olympic Park: “Fab wide roads when you’ve had enough of doing donuts in the carpark”.
- Sydney Academy of Sports, Narrabeen
More on teens…
- Youth Hubs for Teens around Sydney’s North Shore
- 3 simple exercises to help your teen build body confidence
- 10 Tips for parents to support your teen through the HSC
- Podcast: How to manage screen time & techno tantrums, with Dr Kristy Goodwin
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