Ease Into Independence
Our parental advice regarding teen driving continues . . . So far we have illustrated how important it is to set the standard that driving is a privilege to your children and how to set the expectation that they must drive by the rules to keep the privilege, and now today we offer some tips to ease them into independence, the independence of being behind the wheel.
We recommend starting out your child’s driver education at an empty parking lot before hitting the road. Go over the basics of entering a vehicle initially before even turning the key. Here are some of the basics we advise covering prior to starting your engines:
- Putting on their seat belt, properly! None of this strap behind the back business. Make sure you illustrate this perfectly clear so, there are no excuses. Also, lead by example because your teen will not take you seriously if you’re not wearing your seat belt properly.
- Adjust all mirrors, both side view and rear view mirrors until they feel comfortable with their visibility.
- Adjust the seat position and steering wheel for an appropriate driving position.
- Check gas levels. This may sound silly but, it’s necessary you don’t want your child stranded somewhere without gas.
- Lock doors.
- Go over the basics of the gas and the brake.
- Explain emergency brake purposes and when to use.
After you feel as though your child is ready for the open road you obviously want to go through all standard driving lessons i.e. appropriate speeds, changing lanes, using turn signals, making right/left handed turns, etc.
Ford has designed as a safety feature to help parents with easing new drivers into independence with Ford’s MyKey System. The MyKey System enables parents to limit speed, encourage safety-belt usage, and provide earlier low-fuel warnings.
The specialists at Ford developed this innovative technology after several findings showed that it would help young drivers build road safety experience. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teens are more likely to take risks such as speeding and also are less likely to wear safety belts than older drivers.
The MyKey system woks by allowing the parent to program any key through the vehicle message center, which updates the SecuriLock passive anti-theft system. When the MyKey is inserted into the ignition, the system reads the transponder chip in the key and immediately identifies the MyKey code, which enables certain default driving modes, including:
- Persistent Ford Beltminder with audio mute. Ford’s Beltminder system typically provides a six-second reminder chime every minute for five minutes. With MyKey, the Beltminder chime continues at the regular interval and the audio system is muted until the safety belt is buckled. A message center display “Buckle Up to Unmute Radio” also appears on the instrument cluster.
- Earlier low-fuel warning. Rather than a warning at 50 miles to empty, MyKey provides a warning at 75 miles to empty.
- If MyKey is in the ignition, features such as Park Aid and BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross Traffic Alert cannot be deactivated.
Furthermore, additional MyKey features that can be programmed through the vehicle’s message center setup menu:
- Traction control system, that limits tire spin, cannot be deactivated
- Limited audio volume to 44 percent of total volume
- A speed alert chime at 45, 55 or 65 mph
While the MyKey System will help with the standard driving lessons to impart on your new driver, its important to not forget the importance of focusing on driving situations that are potentially challenging but, relatively uncommon.
- Driving in inclement weather
- Driving during rush hour
- Driving at night
Typically, parents will avoid these driving situations because of the challenge but, it is best to give your new driver an opportunity to experience these situations when you are there to guide them as opposed to them being alone.
Let us know if you have any questions below. Next week we are going to offer our advice on the best vehicles for new teen drivers so, stay tuned.