Preparing Your Teen Driver to Hit the Road
By Donegal Marketing
October 21, 2021
The seat belt is buckled in. A full tank of gas and an open road lie ahead. But not before one quick reminder: “Call when you arrive!”
Whether you’ve been dreading this new chapter or are looking forward to it, preparing your teen driver to hit the road is among the most worrisome times in a parent’s life.
Here, we share two of the top risks for teen drivers, and what you can do to protect against them:
1. Distracted driving:
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving plays a role in nearly six out of 10 crashes involving teens.
What you can do:
– Have an open and proactive dialogue with your teen about the risks, and the importance of staying focused on the road.
– Familiarize yourself with state guidelines and enforce them when your teen is driving.
– Lead by example- never exhibit distracted driving in front of your teen.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Association (NHTSA) show that speeding is a factor in nearly 30% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers.
What you can do:
– Hold off on buying your teen a new car. By beginning their driving career in the family minivan, teens will be less likely to speed.
– Stay involved and continue to monitor their driving habits. Teen drivers begin to speed once they gain confidence at the wheel. Keep the conversation open and remind them about the dangers of speeding.
Other ways that you can help make your teen a better driver:
- Drive as much as possible with them when they still have their permit. The University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center found a sharp decline in crashes among young people who participated in about 110 hours of supervised driving before getting their license.
- Limit the amount of passengers allowed in your teens car. In most states, for the first six months of being a new licensed driver, only one passenger is allowed to be in the vehicle. Enforce this rule with your teens and talk to them about how they can tune out their friends when they are behind the wheel.
- Avoid the temptation of using a phone while driving. When your teen is learning to drive, teach them to stow their phone away in a glove compartment, or somewhere where they will not be tempted to look at it while they are behind the wheel.
- Offer to pick them up whenever they need a ride. Some teens might find themselves in a situation where they cannot drive themselves home. Instead of getting angry at them for their choices, offer to pick them up. You can have additional conversations at a later point, after they’re safely home.
Most importantly, set an example. Most teens follow what their parents do on the road, so be a good example for them and obey the laws. Your kids will pick up on the good behavior and incorporate it into their own driving habits.