Being a new driver is an exciting time for any teenager. Their first car gives them the freedom they have been dreaming of, as well as a chance to go out and explore the world. With that freedom though, comes more responsibility and the increased risk of being involved in an accident on the road.
Teenage drivers are one of the most at-risk driver categories here in Florida, as their lack of experience means they are less likely to drive as safely as more experienced road users.
To help keep your teen safe on the roads, follow these top tips:
1-Talk to them about road safety
Just because your teen has successfully passed their driving exam, it does not mean that they know as much about the rules of the road as more experienced drivers do. So much about what makes a driver proficient on the road is based upon a combination of good sense, knowledge and experience.
To help keep safe driving at the forefront of their minds, talk to them every time they undertake a new journey. Remind them of traffic laws that will affect them on that route and ask them in advance how they plan to deal with a tricky aspect such as entering a major highway or dealing with busy junctions.
Remind them also that they need to be just as cautious when exiting their own driveway as they do out on the road, and that they should always be well aware of pedestrians when looking for a parking spot.
2- Set a good example
If you drive like a racing driver every time you hit the road, your kids will assume that this is acceptable too. As parents, we can inadvertently shape our kids’ opinions on what is right and wrong, and poor driving shouldn’t be something they learn from you.
Always buckle your seatbelt, exercise caution on the roads, keep within the speed limits and observes the rules of the road. This way, your children will grow up to follow your own, excellent example.
3- Teach them how to manage distractions
While you can’t be in the car with your teenager on every journey, you can try to make them aware of potentially dangerous distractions from the safety of your home. Make sure that they know not to look at their cell phones whilst driving, and that mobile devices and other distractions should be put in the trunk or at least on the back seat until they have safely reached their destination.
A car full of teens chatting and laughing can also be a distraction, but one that is difficult to control. Don’t stifle your teen’s social life but do instill into them the importance of being totally focused on the road ahead when they are behind the wheel.
4- Set clear rules
If you are sharing a car, or even if your teen is lucky enough to have their own, there will be times where it is not appropriate to drive. If your teen is going to a party, for example, it may be safer for you to arrange to pick them up.
Make an agreement with your teen about when and how they will be driving and set out consequences for breaking the agreement. This should also extend to taking good care of the vehicle, as well as ensuring it always has enough gas to get home in, and that your teen always has their driving license with them in case they get pulled over.
Set rules that ensure they remain courteous to other drivers and pedestrians, that they obey traffic laws and respect the laws about drugs and alcohol.