The day your teenager is handed their brand new hot-off-the-press license is an exciting day and can be considered a rite of passage for many teens. It’s a way for teens to become more independent, and it’s one of the first steps in becoming a responsible adult.
For a parent, their teen becoming a licensed driver is a proud moment, but it can also be a slightly scary one, too. How can a parent make sure their new teen driver is going to practice safe driving techniques, especially when they are in the vehicle all alone for the first time?
Teen Driving Tips
By following these teen driving tips, you can help ensure your teen has some guidelines and boundaries when it comes to getting behind the wheel by him or herself.
- Discuss the rules. Before your teen gets out on the road without supervision for the first time, sit down and have a heart to heart. Your teen should know that driving is a privilege, and rules should be in place regarding alcohol and cell phone use, filling the gas tank, speeding, and so on. Together, have a plan or contract that highlights the rules, and the consequences if that contract is broken, so your new driver knows the expectations up front.
- Practice what you preach. Kids, even teens, learn by example. When driving, wear your seatbelt, put your cell phone in the glove compartment, and practice safe driving. When your teen sees how seriously you take being behind the wheel, it will be easier for them to implement the same techniques on their own. These are habits and techniques you need to start implementing even before your teenager is coming to driving age, they are paying close attention to your habits already!
- Discuss the costs. Your teen should know about the costs associated with driving to help them become a better new driver. Talk about how accidents will raise your insurance premiums (and it’s recommended that, if possible, they help pay for insurance once they are a licensed driver). Set expectations that should your teen be caught speeding, they’ll be responsible for paying for the ticket. If your teen helps out with some of the expenses associated with driving, they can become more responsible, careful drivers.
- Ban electronic devices. Texting while driving is one of today’s main driving distractions and the cause of countless accidents. While having a cell phone is important for emergency situations, teens should know to put them away and out of sight while driving. As a parent, you also have to understand when to call or text your new driver. Set a time for them to contact you, when they won’t be behind the wheel.
- Implement a schedule. When your teen first starts driving independently, let them get accustomed to it gradually. Teens should not be allowed to take long road trips, drive at night or in bad weather until they are more comfortable with driving. They should also not be allowed to drive with multiple friends at a time as this can add problems with distracted driving. In many states there are regulations that determine the number of passengers new drivers are allowed to drive with. Schedule certain times where you feel it’s safer for your teen to be on the road when they first begin driving independently.
If your teen has completed their driving education classes through Drive Team, you can rest easy knowing that they’ve learned the skills they need to make them safe, confident drivers. But taking a few extra steps as a parent to ensure your teen knows the rules and feels comfortable out on the road can only benefit them further. Contact us for more information.