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How to Develop Your Kids Defensive Driving Skills

Updated on November 29, 2011

Drivers Education

Taking drivers education classes is a great idea, and in my part of the country it’s mandatory for anyone under the age of 18. It’s very difficult to develop defensive driving skills in the short 6 week class, because your kid is just not behind the wheel enough to really learn anything except the basics. Driving skills and defensive driving skills are a learned skill and it takes time.

Malcolm Gladwell ''OUTLIERS"

Where do You Learn Good Driving Skills?

When I first started to drive, I was a natural behind the wheel, everything came easy to me, judging distances, stopping correctly even driving a standard transmission came easy to me, but I had no idea why. I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel and just go! I thought I just loved driving and never really gave it much thought until just the other day, when I saw a video with Malcolm Gladwell.

My daughter just started to drive, and she is really good compared to other kids she goes to school with. I witnessed other kids driving skills when I see them around town and I my daughter talks to me about how her friends drive, pretty scary! Being a bit conceded, I thought I had passed down my awesome driving skills to her, Not! Malcom Gladwell had the answer, so if you have young kids that won’t be driving for a few years, listen up!

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of the book “Outliers” and he talks about how people grow up with certain circumstances around them that ultimately change their lives. One other point he makes is that you never really get good or proficient at anything until you have spent about 10,000 hours doing it. I hope I didn’t lose you yet.

Teach your Kids to Drive Safe

Developing Defensive Driving Skills.
Developing Defensive Driving Skills.
Don't do this when teaching your kids defensive driving.
Don't do this when teaching your kids defensive driving.

Develop Defensive Driving Skills on Autopilot

When I was about 9 yrs old, my grandmother had an 8acre lot of land that I always mowed with the riding lawn mower, eventually we move it to that house and I was always on the riding mower, even if there was no grass to mow. I literally spent about 5000 hours on that mower until I turned 16 and got my license, then no one knew where I was half the time, lol, no cell phones back then :0) Riding that mower gave me skills that would last forever.

So you question is, “why does my daughter drive well?” When my kids were growing up, they had one of those Power Wheels dune buggies at the age of 5, they drove that dune buggy around till the wheels literally fell off the machine. Unknowingly I was teaching them to drive, we added one more motorized vehicle to the mix, and now they learned defensive driving, but I had no idea this would ultimately affect them for the rest of their driving lives.

As they grew older, we bought them motorized scooters, gas powered go-karts and blah blah balh… The point is, they were working on their driving skills early in life, and practicing their driving skills while having fun. Whenever we go on vacation, we always look for the nearest go-kart track and challenge each other, even to this day. I still win every time, but that will change when the arthritis takes over my joints and I can’t get my butt out of my wheel chair, so I’ll still be in the winner’s circle for a while, lol.

Defensive Driving Skills Starts Here

Start Driving Early

 If you worry about the day your kids start driving, do yourself a favor, start your kids early, get them a battery powered vehicle or bring them to the go-kart track as often as possible or have them mow the lawn on a rider mower. Working on these driving skills early on in life will reap huge benefits when they get their license and you’re not there to guide them anymore.

Can You Learn Defensive Driving From a Video Game?

 Video games can help your kids driving skills, but it’s nothing like being in the driver’s seat, unless they drive one of the life size virtual video games you find I the arcade, you know the one that has a brake pedal and gas pedal. Still though, there is nothing like feeling the movement of the vehicle when taking a hard turn, or braking real hard, you just can’t duplicate that in a video game, this is the type of hands on training they need.

 The way I look at it is, it’s better to have them crash and burn in a vehicle that cost $150 and can only go 5mph, the damage is minimal, and it won’t cost as much to fix it. It’s better than car insurance. Car insurance will fix your car, but you kids have to heal. Better to start practicing early and avoid crashing later, with good defensive driving skills, they learn early, what to do in an emergency.

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