Do you have a teenager that is close to the legal driving age? Are they constantly urging you to teach them to drive? Do they want to practice driving every time you go anywhere together? Are you worried about their first drive alone, with their brand new driver?s license? Teenage driving has some of the highest accident rates. In their first year on the road, teens are almost 10 times more likely to be in a crash. Those numbers put a lot of anxiety and fear into parents. Although you cannot prevent them from ever driving, you can ensure that they are properly prepared.
Enroll them in a quality drivers education course
Some parents may allow their children to practice driving before ever enrolling into driver education classes. This is not always the best idea, for a couple of reasons. First, the child is not insured, and if a problem occurs, they and your vehicle will not be covered. Secondly, they are not yet educated on the rules of the road. It is usually a better idea to enroll them in a quality drivers education course first, allowing them to learn the educational side. Once they have completed the beginner driving course, they will be allowed to practice driving on the road with a trained instructor.
Discuss driving daily
Approximately 56% of teens rely on their parents to learn to drive. It is your responsibility, as a parent, to ensure that your child understands all of the rules of the road. Learning to drive should not be a short term project. It should be a lesson that encompasses them every day. You can increase your teen?s driving knowledge by discussing driving every day. When you are driving them places, make them pay attention, and quiz them on the different rules of the road. Not only will this prepare them for their drivers education course, but it will also ensure that they are prepared to drive on their own.
Encourage extended driving hours
The biggest cause of teenage auto accidents is in lack of experience. Some states have minimal required driving hours before obtaining a driver?s license. Experience tends to reduce teen accident rates. Even if your home state does not require extended driving hours, you can require this of your teen. Require them to complete additional driving hours with you, following the drivers education course completion. You can give them additional lessons that they might not have learned in the beginner course, including traffic lessons, night time driving lessons, and unique driving situations. The additional experience will make your teen a much safer driver.
Put additional restrictions on your teen?s driving
It is likely that your teen will learn about the legalities of driving during the drivers education course, but there is no guarantee that they will follow these laws. There are also driving habits that are not necessarily illegal, but do result in an increase of auto accidents, including driving and texting, having too many friends in the vehicle, and driving during extreme weather conditions. While your teen is still learning to drive, it can be beneficial to put additional restrictions on their driving. Limit the number of friends they are allowed in the vehicle, prohibit cell phone usage while driving, and only allow driving during poor weather conditions, when you are in the vehicle.
Driving is often seen as a necessity. However, it is actually a privilege. Learning to drive takes many hours and many years of experience. Some teens are allowed to operate a vehicle on their own before they are fully prepared for safe driving. You, as a parent, can reduce teen auto accidents by enrolling them in a quality drivers education course, discussing driving with them on a daily basis, extending their required on road driving hours, and implementing additional driving restrictions. The fatality rate for drivers age 16 to 19 is four time that of drivers age 25 to 69 years. Ensure that your teen is prepared and equipped with the safest driving habits.