While some believe that the only way to make teens safer drivers is to withhold giving them their licenses until they turn thirty, others believe that a less drastic way to ensure safer teen drivers is simply to boost their driver’s education training and experience with a supervising adult while on the road. It is said that the number one cause of accidents among teens is simply inexperience. If we as parents can boost that level of experience we will be making great strides towards making our teens safer drivers.
Parents need to establish some rules of their own when it comes to teaching teens how to drive. Of course there are laws and state regulations that dictate what is and is not legal or what type of training is required to get a license. But as one who knows that ability of your children best, you can establish additional rules that will not only help your teen become a better driver but that can help them to be less reckless and more aware of what is happening around them while they are on the road.
Car insurance companies see the benefits of parents who establish their own house rules when it comes to making teens safer drivers. In fact, many car insurance companies have established parent-teen contracts that put these rules into writing and make them seem more binding and consequential for teens.
Rules for new and teen drivers will vary depending on the specific strengths and weaknesses of the drivers in training at your house. But here are some general rules that other parents have chosen to use that may work well for your teen:
•The teen should not be allowed to drive alone in adverse weather conditions (rain, snow, ice, fog. etc.) and at night until the teen has sufficient skills and experience. Or the teen may only drive in these conditions with a parent in a controlled environment (i.e. back roads) in order to gain experience.
•Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs (whether over the counter or prescribed) any other substance that might impair reaction time is illegal and therefore is obviously not allowed. Driving while tired is also extremely dangerous and not allowed.
•Rules need to be established regarding curfew, where and when the car can be borrowed, and who is to pay for gas and insurance.
•Seat belts must be worn in the car at all times and by all passengers before the car can be put into gear.
•Parents should set rules dictating who is allowed in the car at the same time as the teen. Some states have established laws that state how many passengers are allowed in a car with a teen driver. Make sure that you are familiar with these laws.
•Parents and teens should discuss what situations would warrant the loss of driving privileges and these stipulations should be in writing.
•Objects that cause distractions such as headphones, cell phones and other devices should not be allowed while a teen is driving.
•A regular recertification or defensive driving course is a great way to ensure that your teen receives extra guidance through their beginning stages of learning the rules of the road and gaining experience.
•Specific rules regarding motorcycle driving will need to be set for your teen. A helmet and other protective equipment should be worn at all times.
There is no substitute for experience. As a parent see that your teen gets as much time behind the wheel as possible with you as his supervisor. Having this controlled environment will help him to develop the necessary judgment and experience skills necessary to be a safer driver.