Having a teen driver is a frightening prospect for most parents. Car crashes remain a leading cause of death for young adults, and teenage drivers are responsible for more property damage when compared with other age groups. It’s only natural to worry that your teenager could get hurt in a serious collision once you let them free on the road.
As a parent, you can help keep new drivers safer by investing in good drivers education and ensuring proper maintenance of any vehicle they might drive. You can also help your teen by setting realistic and reasonable safety rules for them while they drive and by setting a good example by following those rules yourself.
Teens are not going to listen if you say “do what I say, not what I do”
No matter how much book work and academic learning may play a role in the process of getting a license, your teenage driver is going to mirror the driving habits they see from you, other adults that drive them frequently and even their peers. As such, it is your duty to make sure that you set a good example by following the same rules with which you expect your teenager to comply.
If you speed, cut people off or text at the wheel, your teen driver will likely think that they can engage in the same behaviors once they get the keys to the car. By displaying safety-focused behavior when you drive, you can teach your child by example how to stay safe on the road.
Make a point of turning the ringer off on your phone and on putting your phone inside the center console or in the backseat while you drive. Don’t shift the vehicle out of park until everyone in the vehicle has their safety belt on properly.
Remember that distraction can come in many forms, and keep your focus on the road, regardless of what else may be happening around you. Don’t eat and drink at the wheel in front of your children. All of these are good basic safety rules to begin with, but as your children get closer to driving age, they also become habits that can help protect your child from the risks of the road.