When teenagers obtain their driver's licenses, parents typically feel worried and overwhelmed. They may not want to hand over their keys to their new and inexperienced driver. However, the time comes when they'll have to drive to work, school, and other activities. What safe driving tips and conversations should you have with your teen before they're out on the road without your supervision? Look to these ideas to get you started.
Even if a driver's education course has already gone over the basics of safe driving for your teen, it's best to continuously go over them so your teen can understand just how important they are. By following safe driving protocols, your teen will be less likely to be involved in one of the 5.5 million car accidents that occur in the United States each year. These safe driving basics include:
- Buckling your seatbelt
- Keeping your eyes on the road at all times
- Keeping your hands on the wheel
- Ridding of distractions
- Being aware of other drivers and pedestrians
- Driving the speed limit
- Taking precautions depending on the weather
- Having all necessary documents and licenses in the car at all times
Distracted driving is one the biggest causes of concern when it comes to teenage and young adult drivers. In fact, distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding are the three most common causes of car accidents in the United States. Distractions may include food and drink, cell phones and other electronics, music, and other people in the vehicle. Consider discussing these suggestions with your teen:
- Utilize a metal or paper straw if you need to drink water while driving to avoid having to open and close a water bottle
- Avoid eating while driving, as it's a choking hazard and can cause spills, which could further cause a car accident
- Limit the number of people in the car. Many states have limitations, so follow these necessary laws
- Keep music at a low volume, especially when driving in busy areas
- Keep cell phones and other electronics out of sight so they don't become a distraction
Drinking and Driving
High schoolers face plenty of peer pressure, especially when it comes to underage drinking. Have a conversation with your teen about the harsh realities of drinking and driving. It can cause serious injuries and even death, and you don't want your teen to make a decision that will ruin their life. Talk to your high schooler about underage drinking. If they ever need a ride home or are stuck in an uncomfortable situation, assure them that you are always a phone call or text away.
As mentioned before, speeding is one of the top three most common causes of car accidents in the United States, making it an important topic of discussion when it comes to safe driving practices. Talk to your teen about the importance of adhering to speed limits. Whether you're driving on a highway, backroads, or in the middle of a busy city, your teen's safety will likely be dependent on driving the speed limit and being cautious of their surroundings. Reckless driving can lead to car accidents and hitting pedestrians, which means your teen's safe driving practices not only affects them but others, too.
Your teen also needs to be aware of car maintenance and how it relates to the safe driving basics. In 2017, the top three most common vehicle repairs were the replacement of windshield wiper blades, air filters, and oil/oil filters. The more a car is driven, the more wear and tear it experiences, and this leads to more necessary maintenance and replacements. Especially if your teen is financially responsible for their own vehicle and its upkeep, it's important your teen understands just how expensive all of these costs and repairs will add up to.
As you discuss safe driving practices with your teen, be sure to act as a role model for them. Be patient with your teen as they learn how to navigate the roads safely. Setting a curfew and a limit on the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle will provide boundaries your teen can follow for their own benefit. Continue to openly discuss safe driving protocols with your teen so they understand you're looking out for them and their safety.
Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.