It’s an awfully stressful time for parents: we’re talking about the point at which your teenager reaches driving age. This transition can be rough, but as a parent, 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.
If more ammo is needed for getting through to your teen, there are lots of resources at your fingertips. All of them are aimed at helping your family and especially your teen driver live a long happy life.