Getting a driver’s license is one of the most memorable moments in a teen’s life,…and one of the most scary moments of a parent’s. Naturally, parents worry most about safety when it comes to teen drivers. Fortunately, parents can help make the driving experience safer for teens. Here are a few tips for parents of teen drivers.
Enroll in Driver Education
Driver education courses are a great start to safe driving. Most courses cover not only the rules of the road but also safety tips and rules. As an added bonus, most insurance companies offer a discount for new drivers who have completed a certified driver’s education course.
Set Expectations and Rules
Driving is a privilege, no matter what your age. Make sure your teen understands the responsibilities and consequences of being a driver. This is an extremely important conversation to have with your teen before he/she ever takes the wheel to begin with.
It is also important to set some ground rules. Here are a few to consider…
- Limit who can be in the car with your teen (and the maximum number of occupants).
- Limit what hours your teen may be on the road (i.e. no driving after 9pm at night).
- Require all vehicle occupants to wear a seat belt at all times.
- Prohibit driving after any type of drinking.
- Provide an incentive for driving privileges (i.e. school grades or house chores)
Discuss Different Scenarios
As with anything in life, knowledge comes from experience. Since your teen is new to driving, he/she does not yet have a base of knowledge to draw from. You can actually use some of your own experiences to help prepare your teen. Discuss different road conditions and scenarios and how your teen should react to them. These conversations will help your teen make better decisions if he/she encounters them in the future.
Select a Safe Vehicle
Unfortunately, accident rates are often high when it comes to teen drivers. Having a safe vehicle can reduce the likelihood of accidents and/or severe injury. Make sure the vehicle your teen is driving is properly equipped with safety features such as front and side impact airbags, anti-lock brakes, and a spare tire. Also ensure that the vehicle is properly maintained with working windshield wipers, headlights, tail lights, etc. Don’t ignore any mechanical warning lights in the vehicle’s dashboard as some may create a safety issue. Teach your teen to perform a routine safety check and how to handle specific issues (specifically when a car should not be driven).
Additional Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers
Preparing a teen for the driving world is mostly about education. This includes driver safety education plus vehicle safety, how to handle different scenarios, and why certain rules are important to follow. Getting your teen to understand the responsibilities (and consequences) that come with driving will help them make better decisions when they are at the wheel. Ultimately, the length and depth of discussion should depend on your teen’s maturity level. As a parent, you will know better than anyone else what you should focus on when it comes to preparing your teen for driving. We hope that these tips for parents of teen drivers gives you a good start.