Driving is a significant milestone in a teenager’s life, offering freedom and independence.
Therefore, parents should take an active role in preparing their teens for this important step.
Lead by example
In 2020, 2,800 teens died and 227,000 received injuries in car accidents, and teens experience three times the crash rate as those 20 or older, according to the CDC. One of the best ways to prevent teen accidents is to set a positive example. Therefore, obey traffic laws, wear seatbelts and practice safe driving habits.
Discuss the importance of safety, following rules and respecting other drivers. Encourage your teens to discuss their questions and concerns about driving. Provide patient guidance and reassurance, and share your expectations for your teens’ driving behaviors, including curfews, passenger restrictions and cell phone usage.
Enroll in a driver’s education program
Formal driver’s education programs offer comprehensive classroom instruction and hands-on experience. They cover traffic laws, defensive driving techniques and the consequences of risky behaviors. Also, teach your teens about your state’s graduated driver licensing program.
Practice, practice, practice
Start your teens’ supervised practice in a safe, quiet area, and gradually progress to more challenging driving situations, such as highways and heavy traffic areas. Give your teens experience in various weather conditions and at different times of the day and night. Also, teach defensive driving techniques, including anticipating the actions of other drivers, maintaining a safe following distance and staying alert at all times.
Emphasize the dangers of impaired and distracted driving
Teach your teens the consequences of impaired driving, whether due to alcohol, drugs or distractions like texting. Encourage them to always stay focused on the road and never drive under the influence.
Stay involved in your teens’ driving journeys even after they obtain their licenses. This privilege comes with great responsibility.