Here are some tips to make your teen a better and safer driver. Use them to reduce your teen’s risk of a fatal accident.
- Discuss Safe-Driving Habits While You Drive. Talk about any safety hazards that you observe while driving, such as downhill speed, neighborhood areas with children playing, construction zones, etc. Use the time you spend driving your teen places to make her a better, more cautious driver.
- Invest in an Additional Formal Driving Class. Who said that after one driver’s ed class and a test your teen is ready for everything he will encounter on the road? Have your teen take another formal driving class, preferably not one in a classroom but behind the wheel. This will give your teen the needed experience to be the best driver he can be. It will also greatly reduce your teen’s risk of a collision. These classes are usually inexpensive, but don’t hesitate to pay a little more because your teen’s life is more than worth it.
- Pick a Safe Car. The car your teen drives could save her life. Pick a car that is reliable and in good working condition and one that has received good crash test scores. Always inspect brakes, tires, seatbelts and other systems before buying a used car. For more on information, see the related article, “What’s Your Teen Driving?”
- Let Your Teen Drive You. As soon as your teen receives his driving permit let him drive you to appointments, the grocery, church, mall, school, etc. This way your teen will receive as much supervised driving experience as possible before he receives his license and is able to drive alone. Keep in mind that experience is the best teacher.
- Don't Overreact While Your Teen is Driving! It is very important not to yell at your teen while she is behind the wheel. Upsetting yourself and your teen adds stress to the already stressful situation as well as increases the chance of an accident. Studies have proven that emotionally upsetting conversations compromise driving capabilities and increase driver distraction. Calmly talk with your teen at home about the mistakes or problems you noticed while she was driving. However, if your teen does something too dangerous you may want to ask her to pull over and let you drive.
- Share the Cost and the Responsibility. Driving is a privilege, not a right. Have your teen share the responsibility of paying for insurance as well as other driving expenses (i.e. gas). It will not only teach your teen to be responsible, but it may also improve your teen’s driving habits.
- Don’t Let Your Teen Drive With Teen Passengers. Studies have shown that teen drivers who operate a motor vehicle with teen passengers are three times more likely to die in a fatal accident. Having other passengers, especially teens, greatly increases driver distraction. Don’t let your teen drive with teen passengers until he has had his license for a long time and has demonstrated responsible safe driving habits.
- Constantly Remind Your Teen Driver. Don’t worry about annoying or nagging your teen, it is extremely important to always remind your teen of the dangers of driving. Your repetitiveness is the key to your teen’s memory. Always tell her never to drive under the influence of alcohol or any drug or ride with another driver who is under the influence of any substance. Assure your teen that you will gladly pick her up with minor repercussions because of her mature decision (calling you instead of driving drunk).
- Occasionally Ride with Your Teen. Even after your teen receives his license ride with your teen once in a while to assess his driving skills. Don’t make it obvious that your teen in being observed or tested. The first years of driving are when the majority of bad driving habits begin. Remember that the first few years of driving will affect whether or not your child will be a safe driver for life. Avoid being a backseat driver, but do point out mistakes to your teen. Try to talk to him as an adult.
Your parental involvement in your teen’s driving experiences is the best way to ensure that he will be a safe driver. Safe driving habits are the best defense against accidents and fatalities.