As a parent, there’s almost nothing scarier than handing the car keys to your teenager and watching them drive away. You cross your fingers, hoping and praying that the years of teaching and giving life lessons to them has paid off. Out of anyone, new drivers need the most practice to get the hang of things – so there are a few tips that teens should know before getting behind the wheel.
Your teenager sees their driver’s license as their key to freedom. However, teenagers have a higher rate of fatal crashes due to their lack of skills, experience, and maturity. It’s crucial to instill safe driving tips and techniques in teens before they hit the roads. Keep reading for our best tips for teens to stay safe while driving!
Teen Driving Safety Tips
- Lead by example. If a teen spends time in the car with a parent who practices safe driving, they are much more likely to follow suit. Be a good role model for your teen and don’t text/talk and drive or participate in other distracting activities while behind the wheel. Don’t forget that your teen begins learning to drive by watching you, their parent. Leading by example is a great way to instill safe driving habits in your teenager before they ever sit in the driver’s seat.
- Talk to them. Spend time talking to your teenager about the dangers of drug and alcohol use. The conversation doesn’t need to be uncomfortable or awkward. Let them know that if they are even in a situation where they’ve been drinking or taking drugs that they should call you for a ride no matter what. We were all teenagers once, and perhaps many of us wish that our parents had taken the time to talk to us about doing the right thing when it comes to driving and being safe behind the wheel.
- Prohibit distracted driving. Did you know that 1 in 3 teens say that they have texted while driving? Research has shown that dialing a phone number while driving increases your teen’s risk of crashing by 6 times, and texting while driving increases the risk by 23 times. Remind your teen that driving is a privilege that should not be taken lightly, and set consequences for distracted driving. Consider suspending their privileges to drive or taking away the keys if they break a distraction rule you’ve set. Beyond the rules in your own household, make your teen aware of the penalties for distracted driving in your state. Restricting the number of passengers your teen can have in the vehicle, or the hours your teen is allowed drive, is also an effective way to minimize distraction for your teen driver.
- Teach them defensive driving skills. Earlier this month, we covered the importance of defensive driving. Teach your teen that by practicing defensive driving, they’re putting themselves in a proactive position rather than simply reacting to the potential hazards on the roads. For example, teach them to always try to look 15 seconds ahead to anticipate hazards. This practice of defensive driving reduces the likelihood of a collision, may reduce fuel consumption, and ensures a smooth ride for your teen and their passengers.
Teaching your teen safe driving tips is one of the most important things that you – as a parent – can do for your child. You’ve been driving for years and the skill has become second-nature to you, but don’t forget that you were once a teenager and sat behind the wheel for the first time. Your teenager is nervous, a little scared, but most of all, excited – make sure they understand the importance of staying safe behind the wheel before handing them the keys to their freedom! Also, be sure to grab a free quote from Metromile to see how much you could be saving. We might end up being the best option for the newly-minted driver in your household. Be safe and see you on the roads!
Julianne Cronin is a Bay Area freelance writer, content creator, and founder/editor of the women’s lifestyle site, The Wink.