Teen Driver Safety
There’s nothing quite so scary as seeing your teenage son or daughter driving off on their own for the first time after getting their license. Passing a road test and theory test has made them so sure of themselves, but you know that acquiring the license is just the beginning of real road education. Your teens might not listen to all of your advice, but below are some simple things you can do or advise your teen to help keep them safe on the roads for a long lifetime.
- Get them a safe pair of wheels
If you’re buying your teen their own car, then your first priority should always be finding a nice, standard trim without the sporty “go-faster” features that some will offer. Look for a full package of safety features, even if it means installing a few optional extras — lane-keep assist, rearview camera, parking assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, anti-lock brakes. Ask a salesman for the full safety lowdown.
- Instill a strict regimen – no phone while driving
While your kids are learning to drive, hammer home the message of not even looking at their smartphone while the car is in operation. Use a heavy hand and an iron will to remind them what horrors could befall them if they get distracted by the phone. Give no leeway, either, even when they’re sitting in heavy traffic. Stay. Off. The. Phone.
- Book them on an advanced driving course
Look in your local area for instructors or schools that offer advanced driving courses, which typically include driving in more difficult conditions like heavy rain, winter weather or on rougher roads. They should also get professional assistance and experience driving on the freeway, and these courses will help. Not only can they keep teens safe, but they can even help lower insurance costs.
- Make them responsible for their car
By doing some cost-sharing with your teen, you can help instill a greater sense of responsibility in them. Make them chip in for gas, or pay for basic services like cleaning or tire pressure checks. This will make them realize they have to look after this vehicle, and that will heighten their sense of care and lower their sense of risk-taking. Having your teen develop a relationship with a reputable car dealership is important as well as these relationships can last a lifetime.
- Build up their experience
If your teen can do the driving, then make them do it. Every journey adds some experience under their belt, even just a trip to the grocery store. Picking up Dad from the airport? Send the teen. Need an emergency trip to the grocery store on a darkening winter evening? Send the teen. Every drive in a new condition or on a new route is positive experience.
You can’t coddle your child forever. Soon they’ll be up and truly about, on the roads. Do what you can to make them confident and responsible drivers. Keep them safe out there.