Driving is a rite of passage for many teenagers. It gives them the freedom to explore and experience new things. But, with great freedom comes great responsibility. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Here are some tips on how to keep teenagers safe when they first start driving.

Establish Rules and Expectations

Before your teenager gets behind the wheel, it’s important to establish rules and expectations. Let them know that driving is a privilege, not a right. Set clear boundaries on where they can and cannot drive, what time they are allowed to be out, and who they can or cannot have in the car with them. Make sure they understand the consequences of breaking any of these rules, such as losing driving privileges or having their car taken away.

Emphasize the Importance of Seat Belts

Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent injury or death in the event of an accident. Make sure your teenager understands the importance of wearing a seat belt every time they get in the car. Encourage them to make sure everyone in the car is buckled up before starting the car.

Limit Distractions

Distractions are one of the most common causes of car accidents with teen drivers. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, and even changing the radio station can take a driver’s attention away from the road. Encourage your teenager to limit distractions while driving. They should put their phone away, eat before getting in the car, and set the radio station before starting to drive.

Practice Defensive Driving

Being aware of your surroundings and anticipating potential hazards before they happen is really important on the road. Teach your teenager to always be aware of their surroundings and to be ready to react if something unexpected happens. Encourage them to leave plenty of space between themselves and the car in front of them, and to always signal when changing lanes or turning.

Set a Good Example

As a parent, you are your teenager’s biggest influence. If you want them to be a safe and responsible driver, you need to set a good example. Always wear your seatbelt, avoid distractions while driving, and practice defensive driving techniques. Be a calm and patient driver, even when other drivers are behaving badly.

Enroll Them in Driver’s Education

Enrolling your teenager in driver’s education is a great way to ensure they are getting the proper training and education they need to be a safe driver. Driver’s education courses teach important skills such as defensive driving, traffic laws, and how to handle emergency situations. Many courses also include hands-on driving experience with a trained instructor.

Driving is an important milestone for teenagers, but it comes with a lot of responsibility. By establishing rules and expectations, you can help keep your teenager safe when they first start driving. Remember, the most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open and to always be there to offer guidance and support.

Image credit: Jan Baborák via Unsplash

About The Author

Avatar photo