This is the day your son or daughter has been anticipating and you, most-likely, have been fearing for some time now. This is the day your teen is opened up to a new world of responsibilities, choices and freedom in the form of a driver’s license. What can you do, as a parent, to help your teen learn as they run errands, pick-up siblings, and even go to parties. Here are some tips below to help teach your teen to be a safe and careful driver.
- Make sure your teen knows exactly what to do in the event of an accident.
- Give your teen gentle, constructive critiques of their driving, and keep your temper in check
- Provide a safe car for teens to drive: easy to maneuver, with airbags and good tires.
- give emergency numbers and/or teach your teen what to if a tire were to go flat or if they have a break down.
- Provide lots of in-car, “passenger seat” supervision.
- Start off with small trips – less then five miles away – to build up their confidence.
- Set a good example. They have been watching and imitating behavior to this point, driving isn’t any different.
Teens have an average of three accidents between the ages 16 and 20, According the the CDC, and motor vehicle fatalities are the leading cause of death to teenagers, representing over one-third of all deaths. As teens experience a new sense of freedom it is easy for parents to feel as if they are loosing all control. One idea is to form a driving contract before handing over the keys. A contract that firmly states the rules and consequences for breaking them. not only will this help in maintaining control, it may help bring to light the responsibilities that come with the new privilege of driving.
Some suggested things to include could be:
- Good car care: putting gas in when needed, oil changes, tire pressure, and regular maintenance. Also, keeping the car free of clutter and trash.
- Insurance decisions. If your teen will be paying for their own insurance, the contract is a great place to have it stated. Some parents find that having their teen pay for insurance provides some incentive for avoiding reckless on-road behavior that often results in accidents.
- Always obey the speed limit and traffic laws, and always wear seat belts. They should make sure any passengers are buckled up as well.
- Never use cell phones while driving
Download a copy of the CDC’s Parent-Teen Driving Agreement below.
Sources: CDC, Teendriving