If you’ve got a teen driver on your hands, here’s what you need to know.
Like all children, teens desire independence. The thought of being able to drive themselves is an exciting thing that all teens want. But in reality, car accidents are the leading cause of death for this age group and safety must be a huge part of what they learn before getting behind the wheel.
As a parent, you have the power to get through to them. They may have daydreams of cruising to the beach with their friend without a care in the world, but you must bring them back to earth about what the realities of driving.
Here are some little things you can do to improve the chance that they stay safe and learn how to be responsible drivers:
- “Passenger seat” supervision is a great way to give your teen support and also guide them while they are actually driving.
- Build confidence with small trips of 5-10 miles in areas that are familiar.
- Make sure they are driving a safe car with good brakes, good steering, and airbags.
- Check that your criticism is gentle and constructive. Creating a stressful environment for your teen to learn driving can be just as damaging as no help at all since it teaches your teen to associate driving with being on edge.
- Make sure your teen knows what to do if there is an accident.
- The average teen has 3 accidents between the ages of 16-20. Make a contract with them to lessen these odds. Your contract should include:
- A stipulation that good grades earn driving privileges.
- No texting or phone while driving
- Zero tolerance regarding alcohol/drugs and driving
- Observing curfew
- Observing rules about passengers
- Obeying the traffic laws. Traffic tickets should have major consequences like suspension of privileges.
Your teen’s safety is in your hands. If you take the time to show them how important their well being is to you, they will eventually listen.