5 Ways to Help Your New Teen Driver Stay Safe
Simply because of inexperience and immaturity, teen drivers get in more accidents than all other age groups. It’s an exciting time for your teenager, and with some help they can gain the know-how and good habits to prepare them for a lifetime of safe driving.
Here are 5 tips to help your teen driver stay safe on the road during these formative years.
Teens love their phones, but you need to set zero tolerance for cell phone use while driving. Have them turn their phone off completely before getting behind the wheel (or take it away completely). You can also get them to put it away in the glovebox so it’s out of sight and out of mind.
Cell phone use while driving, even hands-free use, is incredibly distracting and dangerous. It’s also against the law in more and more states, with some places having increased penalties for cell phone use by teen drivers.
- Limit cell phone use on the road
Gaining a certain level of driving experience is a necessary step for your teen, and this includes practicing in different driving conditions. Don’t be hesitant to let them gain experience in snowy, rainy, or night-time conditions. Just be there with them as they practice driving in many different situations, so you can give pointers and ensure that they’re not distracted.
- Help your teen driver practice in different driving conditions
Safe driving is defensive driving. Defensive driving is all about being focused and prepared to react accordingly to any challenging driving conditions. It means scanning for road hazards and entering intersections with caution. Other defensive driving tips include:
- Teach your teen to drive defensively
- Don’t assume other drivers are paying attention
- Maintain a safe following distance (3-4 seconds between your car and the car in front of you)
- Be aware of surroundings, especially the “blind spot,” and check twice before changing lanes
- Always have an “escape route” – avoid being blocked in by other cars or barriers on the road
- Eliminate distractions
We all know that teenagers can be rowdy in groups – it will be incredibly distracting for your teen driver to have passengers, especially other teenagers, while they’re learning to drive. Don’t let your teen drive friends around, at least for the first 6 months. It will help them focus as they gain driving experience.
- No passengers at first
One of the best things you can do for your teen driver is to set a good example with your own driving habits. Eliminate distractions from your own driving routine. Put your cell phone away, don’t eat while driving, and don’t speed. Practice your own defensive driving techniques. Your teen driver will learn many of these safe driving habits through osmosis simply by observing you. But if they witness you driving recklessly, they’ll be more likely to think it’s OK for them to do the same.
We’ve all been there
Gaining the experience and wisdom necessary for safe driving will take time and practice. With a little help and encouragement, your teen driver will hopefully develop safe habits sooner rather than later. And remember: you were once a teen driver yourself. We’ve all been there!
- Be a good example