Although your teen might be counting the days until they can get their driver’s license, as a parent you are probably not as thrilled. Forget for a moment the added costs of insurance premiums and gas. The biggest concern is your child’s safety and the safety of others on the road. Is your child ready for their driver’s license? Are they mature enough to handle the responsibility? Whether your teen is enrolled in a teen driving school, or you are still doing research, it’s important to take these steps to prepare your child for safe and responsible driving.
7 Ways to Prepare for a Teen Driver
1. Parent-Teen Driving Contract.
Create a contract with your child so you agree on the rules ahead of time. Do you want friends in the car with your teen? Do you want them driving at night? The state has restrictions on teens driving late at night (see below), and you should also check with your city or municipality for any additional restrictions. Explain your expectations, and detail the consequences if the rules are broken. Remember, driving is a privilege, not a right.
State of Ohio driving curfew: 16-year-olds are restricted from driving between midnight and 6:00 AM. 17-year-olds are restricted from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM.
License holders who are 16-years-old may not drive with more than one non-family passenger unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or legal custodian.
At age 17, drivers may have no more passengers than there are seat belts in the vehicle.
2. Stress the Importance of Practice.
Driving is a skill that must be practiced and learned. This is not a skill that can be mastered in a few hours! Take an active role in teaching your child how to drive and give them as much behind-the-wheel time as possible. Your teen’s driving school should provide experience with various types of road and traffic conditions. Be sure to reinforce what they’ve learned outside of class as well.
3. Ban Electronic Devices
Nearly every teen has a phone or a tablet for communication. Whatever your teen is using to communicate, it should NOT be used while driving. Calls and text messages can wait until they’ve arrived. Do you want their cell phone turn-off while their driving? Can they use Pandora in the car? Be sure to spell everything out in your parent-teen driving contract. Parents, remember: DO NOT call or text when you know your child is driving!
4. Choose a Reliable Vehicle
We’re not saying you should have your teen practice in your new luxury car! But one that’s in good condition and good working order is important. Make sure they know how to operate mirrors, knobs, seats, safety systems and other key features. Remember that everything should be adjusted before they put the vehicle in gear.
5. Teach Vehicle Responsibility
Most teens are so focused on the driver’s license, but they have no idea about what else goes into maintaining a vehicle. If your teen will be involved with insurance and gas costs, they will learn quickly. They should also have a basic understanding of the maintenance involved with the vehicle; things such as oil changes, tire rotations, new tires and proper fluid levels.
6. Assess maturity level
Some teens simply aren’t ready for the responsibility of a driver’s license and a car. Your child might not be happy with you, but it’s OK to delay obtaining a license. Waiting six months or a year can often make a difference.
7. Understand Ohio Law
Make sure you are aware of Ohio’s driving laws. Remember that laws change so being aware of the updates could be a good review for you, too!
We believe parents should take an active role in teaching their children how to be safe and responsible drivers. If you have more questions about what you can do to prepare, leave a comment below or contact us by clicking here.
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