44438019_MWhen your teenager reaches driving age, it can be a wildly stressful and nerve wracking time for parents. This transition can be rough, but as the adult in the room, it’s your duty to communicate rules for the road. Clear guidelines are great for all kids to understand their expectations and limitations. But teens will be more likely to hear and remember driving rules when a clear picture of the “why” behind them is included.

Rules and reasons for safety and sanity when your teen starts driving:

  • Attention is key. It sounds so simple, which means it’s easy to gloss over. In the age of multi-tasking, it’s sometimes hard to get a new driver to focus on just one thing: driving. The better focus a driver has on the road and other cars around, the safer they are. This means no talking, texting, dressing, applying makeup or eating. Say it to your teen over and over, then write it down, plaster it on the fridge, and say it again.
  • Discuss risky behaviors. The reason teens have a higher rate of accidents is due to high-risk behavior coupled with lack of maturity and experience. Risky driving examples include not wearing seat belts, speeding, distracted driving, and driving while impaired. Sit down and talk with your child about the perils of these behaviors and how to avoid them.
  • Passenger limits. Since teens view driving as a rite of passage, they’re going to want to show it off to their friends. But teen passengers can be a big distraction, and statistics show a big reason for accidents. The rule is, the danger of an accident increases in direct proportion to the number of teen passengers in the car.
  • Respect the vehicle and the power it wields. Cars are not toys. Sadly, some teens need to constantly be reminded of this fact. They are not made for showing off, doing tricks, or racing on residential streets or freeways. Remind your teen that they are being trusted with a vehicle to get from point A to point B, and to do so at a safe speed while keeping all family rules and also the rules of the road.

If more ammo is needed for getting through to your teen, there are lots of articles online. A good number of them are aimed at helping your family and especially your teen driver live a long happy life. When your teen learns to take responsibility behind the wheel, it will inevitably lower your stress level as well.