Teenagers are vulnerable on the road. Compared to other age groups, teens aged 16 to 19 years old are at most risk of vehicular accidents. The risk is highest in the first few months of securing a driver’s license. According to the Centers for Disease Control, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States.
As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your teenager about safe driving. Not only is this going to keep them from harm’s way. It also promotes the safety of motorists and pedestrians, while sparing you the trouble of paying for costly auto body repairs.
Here are some practical tips on how you can help your teenager become a safe driver.
Tip #1: Minimize distractions
Anything that causes the driver to take their eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel is considered a distraction. Thinking about other things when you’re driving is also a form of distraction since it prevents you from giving your full attention to the road.
No one is immune to distractions; especially inexperienced teenagers. Since you’re an adult, you can help your teen by imposing ground rules that will reduce their distractions. Some rules you can set include:
- Don’t drive with friends
- Don’t listen to music
- No phones on the front seat
- Pullover when using GPS or the phone
Tip #2: Take your teenager for driver’s education
Out of the 50 U.S. States, only 32 require teens to undergo driver’s education before they are allowed to get a written and driving exam for their driver’s license. Even if you aren’t legally required, you should let your teenager take driver’s ed anyway. Formal education will equip them with the basic know-how of safe driving.
Tip #3: Practice, practice, and practice!
Driver’s ed can only do so much for your teenager. You also want to prepare them for real-world scenarios. At Chaney’s Collision, we recommend that you take your teen out for practice drives.
Start with empty parking lots and the roads in your neighborhood during broad daylight. As your teenager gains confidence, progress to local roads and highways with little to no traffic.
Tip #4: Switch up the driving conditions
Once your teenager is accustomed to driving, you can start exposing them to more difficult conditions. Some examples include driving at night, rush hour, and driving during rainy weather.
The key is to accompany them while they navigate these challenging situations. Provide them with instructions so they’ll know what to do.
Tip #5: Teach them about car maintenance
Part of road safety is ensuring that the vehicle is in top working condition. As such, you can teach your teenager about basic car maintenance. Skills such as checking the tire air pressure, making sure that the oil is replenished, and replacing a flat tire, will help your teen stay safe during trips.
Tip #6: Set more rules to follow
Your teenager may be growing up to be a responsible adult, but that doesn’t mean they are fully aware of the dangers that lie ahead. It is your job to set rules if it means you get to keep them safe on the road. Below are some examples:
- Don’t drive without any family member(s)
- Only using the car to travel to work and/or school
- No texting or talking on the phone
- Don’t eat or drink while driving