Teenagers are not gifted with the ability to drive perfectly once they turn sixteen, yet they often feel like they are able to drive just as well as everyone else on the road. This mentality of teenage indestructibility is just one of the contributors to the fact that more teenagers are involved in car accidents than any other age group. In fact, teens are nine times more likely than their parents to be involved in a car accident. Parents are in the best position to help their teens to be safe drivers. It is mostly a matter of not knowing what should be done to make this so.
Helping your teen to become a better driver involves being aware of what they are being taught and tested on in their driver’s education classes. Also, helping your teen become a safer driver involves parental supplementation of that structured learning. In other words, parents need to be teaching and establishing safe driving rules of their own in addition to the rules that are being enforced by the state. Obviously, teens are not as receptive to this idea as adults are, however, if by helping them to be a safer driver can save their life and the lives of any passengers, it is well worth the opposition that this proposal is sure to agitate.
Helping your teen to be a safer driver involves more supervised driving practice both before and after the teen gets her license. In the beginning you should only allow your teen to take part in the more tricky driving practices while being supervised by a parent. This includes driving at night or at other times when visibility is low, as well as driving on highways where it is more challenging to control the vehicle because of the higher speeds.
Rules about driving with passengers should be enforced. Statistics show that with the addition of every teenage passenger in a car, the risk of being involved in an accident rises dramatically. Furthermore, teens are less likely to be paying close attention to the road when they are distracted by the recreational feel of what is happening in the back seat. Again according to the statistics your teen is twice as likely to be involved in an accident on the weekends simply because this is when they are most likely to be in the car with friends.
Effective teaching and learning dictates that for every action there should be consequences. Positive actions should be rewarded, while negative actions should carry with them negative consequences. As your teen proves that she is able to follow the rules that you have set for her and drive responsibly, you may want to lift some of these restrictions. Eventually she will become a safer driver and gain your trust as one who can drive without additional restrictions by parents. Likewise, poor driving decisions and the breaking of rules should be met with more restrictions or even a complete revoking of driving privileges. You may also require that when your teen breaks the rules that they be required to attend a driving course (these are offered by the state for a fee and by many car insurance companies free of charge).
If you ever feel like a driving situation is too difficult for your teen, make sure that you have them stop the car and have you take over. This can teach the teen a powerful lesson. You must always know your limits and it does not make you a bad driver to admit when you have reached your limit when it comes to driving safely. Teenagers are prone to follow the examples that they see so make sure that you are a good example of the kind of safe driver that you would want your teen to be.