Tips for New Teen Drivers
Teenagers dream about getting their driver’s license. Having that official piece of identification tucked in their wallet opens up a new world of choices, responsibilities, and freedom. However, car accidents are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds, accounting for forty percent of all teen deaths. Teaching your teen to be a safe, careful driver can make the difference in their survival behind the wheel.
What can you, as a parent, do to help them learn as they drive themselves around, go to parties, take road trips with their friends, and pick up their siblings? It’s an effort that takes time, knowledge, and patience. The tips below can help.
Provide lots of in-car, “passenger seat” supervision.
Start off with small trips – less then five miles away – to build up their confidence.
Provide a safe car for teens to drive: easy to maneuver, with airbags and good tires.
Give your teen gentle, constructive critiques of their driving, and keep your temper in check.
Set realistic goals, expectations, and consequences for your teen driver. If you make rules, stick to them.
Make sure your teen knows exactly what to do in the event of an accident.
Pick up a current driver’s guide from your DMV. Study it with your teen and point out when they are obeying these rules on the road. If they aren’t, gently point that out to correct them.
Set a good example. If you run red and yellow lights, speed down the highway at 75 MPH, weave in and out of traffic, take chances on the road, ride the bumper of the car in front of you, scream at other drivers, or exhibit other signs of road rage, you’re showing your teen that the rules don’t count – and this can be fatal.