When your child is old enough to get their driver’s permit or license, it’s time for a plan. Remember, children learn from their parents – from your success and mistakes. It is a sobering fact, and worth mentioning, that nearly 5,000 teenagers die each year in car accidents. Here are safety tips to ensure safe defensive driving for your teen driver.
Did You Know?
While passing the driver’s education test is the first step, parents still have a great amount of influence on a young person’s driving habits. Make sure you and your partner have a clear and consistent agreement with your teen driver. That way, there are no mixed signals and rewards and consequences are understood.
- Your child’s safety begins with you. You have a tremendous impact on your child’s driving safety and behavior. Be sure to practice safe driving habits at all times with your children, not just when they are learning to drive.
- Take away any distractions from your teenager. Demand that no cell phones or text messages occur during driving; in fact, leave the phone off.
- Keep the music down — emergency vehicles approach at any time and it is vital that young drivers hear these and pull over.
- Have supervised driving lessons from both parents. It’s important that parents are aligned on driving behaviors and what you are expecting and requiring of your teen.
- Do not allow any other teen passengers in the car when your child is driving. This will keep your child focused and not distracted by conversations, jokes or encouragement from peers.
- Create an agreement with your teen driver in writing and have it signed by him or her as well as yourselves (parents). The agreement outlines what is permissible and what is not, when driving so that expectations – and consequences are clearly outlined. Enforce the agreement.
- A new technology available for concerned parents is the ‘tracking navigation device’. Much like a GPS, this allows a parent to set speed limits and track the whereabouts of their teen driver right from the home computer. This device ranges from $450 – $700. Installation and monthly maintenance fees may apply.
- Remind your young driver that it’s not just other drivers and cars on the road that they need to pay attention to. Always give the right of way to pedestrians and pass bicyclists with a generous amount of space between yourself and them. Stay alert at all times.