Vehicular homicide is the leading cause of death in American teenagers.
Parents feel great anxiety when their teens first get behind the wheel with good reason. When done properly, however, driving marks a monumental milestone in your teen’s path to adulthood.
Since driving is so dangerous for your new driver, it’s vital parents take the time to teach driving safety. Continuing reading to learn some of the most important safe teen driving tips.
Safe Driving Saves Lives
Automotive accidents happen more often than we’d like to believe. Teenagers are at the highest risk of being involved. This is because they’re new drivers who don’t have personal experience to learn on that will keep them safe.
Making a point of how dangerous driving can actually be and teaching safety first can keep your teen safe behind the wheel. The following seven tips can help teens and their parents navigate the new responsibility of driving.
1. Invest in a Safe Driving Course
To find a safe driving course, you can speak to your local DMV. They often keep lists of driving safety courses in the area. You might also want to check with your teen’s school, as they might have a list of their own.
This course will teach your teen defensive driving and basic tips. Even if you’ve taught your teen yourself, it doesn’t hurt to have another person reiterate what you’ve said.
Plus, practice makes perfect. A safe driving course will give your teenager six to 12 hours of extra practice behind the wheel. You might be able to save money on your car insurance upon completion, too.
2. Get the Safest Car for Your Teen
Parents want to choose the safest car in their price range for their teens. Avoid sports cars or anything that doesn’t run properly.
You want to choose a newer vehicle with plenty of safety features and a great crash test rating. If cost is an issue, consider having your teen help save the money for their car. Many parents ask their teens to invest some money into their new vehicles.
By asking teens to invest in their car, they’ll understand how expensive driving is. They’ll also have a real investment in driving and are more likely to take it seriously.
3. Restrict Nighttime Driving
The highest number of auto accidents happen between 9 pm and midnight. This is why it’s suggested parents limit the ability to drive at night. Set a strict 9 pm curfew where your teen can’t be behind the wheel.
Exceptions might be made for work or emergencies. If your teen has a job that ends at 9 pm or 9:30 pm, you can allow them to drive only to and from work. Have them call you before they get behind the wheel so you know to expect them home.
4. Limit the Passengers Your Teen Can Have
It’s wonderful when your teen has a close group of friends. Those friends likely want to go places together and your new driver can’t wait to play chauffeur! Unfortunately, passengers present distractions and increase the risk of an auto-related accident.
When your teen is a new driver, you want to consider limiting the number of passengers to one or (at most) two. If a group of friends wants to go somewhere together, they can take multiple cars.
5. Create a Driving Contract
A driving contract between you and your teen lets them know exactly what is expected of them. It also tells them in no uncertain terms what the consequences of their actions will be.
When creating a driving contract, make sure you list all the rules your teen will have. Make notes of the consequences of violating the contract, and stick by it if the need arises.
6. Set A Good Example For Teens
Teens learn today in the same way they did as toddlers. They watch you and those around them to see how to do things. If they see you speeding and having constant road rage, chances are high they are going to do the same thing.
Set a good example by following road rules and being a patient driver. Ask anyone your teen has a lot of contact with to do the same. Besides another parent or grandparents, this can even include older siblings.
7. Look Far Ahead When Driving
One of the most common mistakes made when teens first start to drive is how they watch the road. They keep their eyes glued to the road just in front of their car, believing they’ll be able to react at that point.
Teach your teenager to avoid this newbie mistake. They should be watching the road as far ahead of them as possible. This will give them an appropriate amount of time to react in most cases.
Bonus Teen Driving Tips: Safety First!
This bonus tip is less about driving and more about what to do before pulling the car away from anywhere. Teens need to wear their seat belts every time they’re in a vehicle, whether a driver or passenger.
Teens need to remember to check all their mirrors to ensure they can see out of them properly. You don’t want them adjusting mirrors while they drive.
Phones should be kept out of sight and out of mind. Ask your teen to store their phone in the glove box so it isn’t a distraction. They can call or text someone back (including you) when they park.
Do you want to learn more about how to keep your teenagers safe behind the wheel? You can read more now. Check out our other blog posts for more information on teen driving tips.