It can be both exciting and stressful for you when your teenager starts driving. While they are experiencing this newfound freedom, they should know that driving is also a privilege and a responsibility.
Unfortunately, many teenagers enthusiastically accept the privileges of driving without considering the responsibilities. Due to inexperience and risk-taking, teens often find themselves in serious car accidents. In fact, a 2017 report stated that nearly 300,000 teen drivers suffered injuries from a car accident.
So what can you do you keep your teenager safe while they learn the rules of the road?
Lead by example
While it’s good to set rules and guidelines for your teen to follow, it’s only part of the equation. Your teen has grown up both actively and subconsciously picking up on your driving habits. When they start driving, they may exhibit some of those habits themselves — the good and the bad. Setting a good example for your teen by practicing safe driving can help them develop safe driving techniques. This includes:
- Wearing your seat belt
- Refraining from distracted driving
- Avoiding drinking and driving
- Obey traffic laws like speed limits
- Use turn signals
Maintain open communication
It’s not uncommon for teenagers to complain when their parents hover and insist on constantly checking in on them. While you don’t need to keep tabs on your teen, make it clear to them that they should always let you know when and where they are driving. For example, establishing curfews can be a good way to hold authority over your teen while still allowing them to test their boundaries.
Prepare your teen
If the worst should happen to your teen while they’re out on the road, it’s best to be prepared. Even the most cautious, attentive drivers can get into an accident. It’s a good idea to teach your teen about what they should do in the event of a car accident. Important things to know are where they can find insurance information, what to do if they’re injured and who they can call.
By taking preventative measures and reinforcing safe driving practices, your teen can continue to enjoy this new chapter in life.