The highlight for many teens is their sixteenth birthday when they finally get their driver’s license, borrow mom and dad’s keys and hit the road with their friends. Driving provides teens with much more than a mode of transportation, driving allows them to feel more independent and grown up. What teens often forget in all of this excitement is the fact that driving a car will be one of the most dangerous and even life-threatening things that they will ever do. This is why it is so important for teens to be willing to take the time to learn proper driving rules and why it is vital that parents take it upon themselves to teach their teens safe driving practices.
Below are some tips for teaching your teen safe driving. Teaching your teen about driving safely will be a time consuming process. But remember that your teen needs to view driving as a privilege not as a right. Therefore, you should not hesitate to set your own rules for driving that may be stricter than what the minimum requirements by law might include.
•Create driving rules – Parents should be able to experience first hand what kinds of abilities their teens have while on the road. A learner’s permit requires that the teen spend a set number of hours in driver’s training, but as a parent you may know that that amount of time is not sufficient for you to feel comfortable enough to let your teen get his license and be on the road alone. There is nothing wrong with creating your own family rules of the road and holding off on allowing your teen to get his license until you feel like he is ready. A study led by a University of Maryland professor reports that new teenage drivers whose parents put restrictions on them in their first six months behind the wheel are less likely to report that they engage in risky driving behavior, even after the restrictions have been lifted. Of course no parent will ever be fully prepared to send their son or daughter out on the road, but you can feel more comfortable about it if you are the one who gets to decide when he or she is ready to start driving.
•Use statistics and real-life stories – Teenagers are infamous for their abilities to know everything and especially to be smarter than their parents. Hopefully, you sensed the satire in that comment yet those with teens understand better than anyone the challenges that exist when teaching teens. Sometimes the council of others or facts from reputable sources are what is needed to get the point through to teens about the importance of safe driving. Using statistics such as that the number one cause of death among teenagers is a car accident or that 41% of teenage fatalities are due to car accidents may be a powerful tool for you to use in getting your child’s attention.
•Take a course – Many times parents simply do not know what exactly they should be teaching their children when it comes to driver’s education. There are so many things that are important to know that often times the simple topics of driving safety are over looked. If you feel like you need some more structured guidance when it comes to teaching your teen safe driving, consider having your teen take a course offered by your car insurance company. Many of the national car insurance companies will offer courses as well as programs designed specifically for providing an incentive to teens if they drive safely. Of course parents are encouraged to participate in these courses as well as to play an active role in the contractual agreements that their teens will make.