Getting a license is a milestone for many teenagers but can be a source of fear for most parents. If your child has recently passed their driver’s license exam and is ready to hit the road, you’re probably worried about how you can keep them safe when you’re not around.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death in teenagers, so you’re right to be concerned. The best way parents can keep their new teenage driver safe is to educate and help them become more comfortable on the road.
Here are a few steps to consider:
- Put away phones and other electronics. Distracted driving can be extremely dangerous. Make sure your teenager keeps their phone out of reach, such as in a bag or the glove compartment.
- Limit the number of passengers. Distractions can also come from other people in the car. Don’t let your teen drive with a car full of friends. Instead, start with one and work your way up until your teen feels more comfortable.
- Drive slowly. Teenagers might be so excited to have their license that they forget to follow the rules of the road. Speeding and reckless driving can cause a severe crash. Remind your teen to drive at the speed limit and keep enough space between themselves and other cars.
- Limit how far they can drive. Another way to ensure your teen doesn’t spend too much time behind the wheel is to limit the range of where they can drive. You can start with a short distance such as to school and after-school activities and gradually build up.
- Limit when they can drive. Driving in certain conditions can be challenging for new drivers. For example, driving in the snow or driving at night can put your teen at risk. You can request that they only drive during the day or when the weather is clear to prevent the possibility of an accident.
- Practice together. Like most things, becoming a comfortable driver requires practice. Ask to drive with your teen so you can get a sense of how they feel behind the wheel. Offer to have them drive when you need to make a quick stop at the grocery store. Simple driving tasks that you do together will let your teen pick up the necessary skills and help you feel good about them driving altogether.
Learning how to drive is an important life skill. You can’t avoid your teenager getting their license, but you can help them feel confident on the road. Together, you can set boundaries and rules that can keep your teenager safe behind the wheel.