Driving is a milestone in your teenager’s life, offering newfound freedom and responsibility. As a parent, your role in guiding your teenager towards becoming a safer driver is important.
While your teenager may feel excited about the freedom driving offers, you may worry about his or her ability to stay safe on the road. With a few practical guidelines, you can help your teenager become a safer driver when he or she earns a license.
Establish clear expectations
In the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. For this reason, you should set clear expectations regarding responsible driving behavior. Clearly communicate your rules on speed limits, mobile phone use and the importance of always wearing seat belts. Reinforce the idea that driving is a privilege that comes with responsibilities.
Lead by example
Teens learn a lot by observing, so be a positive driving role model. Demonstrate safe driving habits by consistently following traffic rules, avoiding distractions and maintaining a calm demeanor behind the wheel.
Spend ample time practicing driving skills with your teenager in various conditions. Gradually introduce him or her to different traffic scenarios, weather conditions and diverse road types.
Limit nighttime driving
Nighttime driving poses additional challenges, especially for new drivers. Establish a reasonable curfew to limit your teen’s exposure to the increased risks associated with driving in the dark.
Clearly outline consequences for breaking driving rules. Whether it is losing driving privileges or facing specific restrictions, having consequences in place reinforces the importance of responsible behavior behind the wheel.
It can take time for your teenager to become comfortable and confident behind the wheel. Keep in mind that your teenager will not become a safer driver overnight, and this process will take practice and persistence.