It is not uncommon for parents of teen drivers to worry about their safety when they take the wheel. And there are indeed plenty of hazards teenagers face on the road these days, whether they’re driving themselves or with friends. There are some steps you can take as a parent to help keep them safe while driving. Here are a few tips for making sure your teen is a safe and responsible driver.
- 1 1. Start With a Driver’s Education Course
- 2 2. Practice Makes Perfect
- 3 3. Teach Them Defensive Driving Techniques
- 4 4. Encourage Them to Ask Questions When They’re Not Sure
- 5 5. Enforce Seat Belt Safety
- 6 6. Teach Them Proper Responses In Emergency Situations
- 7 7. Discuss Drinking and Driving Risks
- 8 8. Teach Them to Avoid Distractions
- 9 9. Learn Proper Maintenance
1. Start With a Driver’s Education Course
If you live in a state where your teen must complete some form of driver’s ed before they get their license, be sure to double-check that the state accepts the one they attend. Not only will it ensure that your teen gets the hours of training required, but it also allows them to ask in-person questions in a classroom setting to make sure they understand the information.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Once your teen gets their license, encourage them to drive as much as possible – even if you’re in the car! The more time they spend on the road with you, their family, and other adults in the car, the more comfortable they’re going to be behind the wheel. The more comfortable they are, the less likely they are to make mistakes that result in a serious accident.
3. Teach Them Defensive Driving Techniques
Although it might be annoying, pull your teen aside from time to time and test their knowledge of safe driving practices. It can help reinforce everything they’ve learned in driver’s ed so far, and the more prepared they are behind the wheel, the easier it is for them to be safe.
4. Encourage Them to Ask Questions When They’re Not Sure
There’s a difference between letting your teen learn from their mistakes and simply failing to teach them important lessons because you don’t want them to make a mistake in the first place. If something doesn’t seem right, encourage them to check with you before taking another step. For instance, if they’re looking into a parking space and think there might not be enough room, let them ask before they commit to pulling in.
5. Enforce Seat Belt Safety
One of the most important things you can do to make sure your teen is a safe driver is to require them to wear their seat belt in your vehicle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, using a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 45%, and wearing one correctly reduces the risk of injury by 50%.
6. Teach Them Proper Responses In Emergency Situations
Did you know that the driver of a passenger vehicle is three times more likely to be responsible for a crash than the driver of a large truck? Whether your teen is driving alone, has a passenger, or is the passenger, your teen must know what to to do if they ever find themselves in an emergency situation. They must know how to respond appropriately. Instruct them never to panic. Instead, they should slow down and find a safe place to park the car and call 911 for help.
7. Discuss Drinking and Driving Risks
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that about one-third of all deaths of young people between the ages of 15 and 20 during traffic accidents involved alcohol. While it is illegal for anyone under 21 to drink, your teen should know that having even one drink before driving can impair judgment and reaction times. Make sure they understand that a responsible adult should drive them home if they are going to drink at a social event.
8. Teach Them to Avoid Distractions
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 3,000 people are killed in car accidents every year because they are distracted, with the highest percentage of those killed is teens aged 15-19. You must talk with your teen about how distractions can affect their ability to drive safely. They should avoid texting while driving at all costs, for instance. Discuss with them that they should not engage in any behavior like this, even if it’s only for a few seconds.
9. Learn Proper Maintenance
According to a recent poll, over 77% of vehicles were found to require maintenance or repair. Therefore, it’s important for every parent to also teach their teen about car maintenance. It is an important life skill that will help them in the long run. Alongside maintenance, keeping a clean car is helpful as well. According to a study done by GAP Enviromicrobial Services, the car is dirtier than the home, having 17,000 times more bacteria. When your teen’s car is clean and clutter-free, they’ll remain healthier and have an easier time finding what they need.
When it comes to teaching safety and responsibility, start with these helpful tips. You want to give your teen all of the advice and encouragement they need to be the best driver.