Learning to drive may be an exciting milestone in your teenager’s life, but it also comes with responsibility. As a parent, you play a role in helping your teenager become a safe driver.
It can take time for your teenager to learn the rules of the road and learn safe driving skills. However, there are things you can do to help him or her develop good habits and drive safely when behind the wheel.
Start with education
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 have the highest risk of getting into a car accident. Before your teenager gets behind the wheel, ensure he or she has a good understanding of the rules of the road. Begin by studying the driver’s manual together and discussing traffic laws, road signs and safe driving practices.
Lead by example
Your behavior as a driver can significantly influence your teenager’s driving habits. Set a positive example by obeying traffic laws, avoiding distractions and practicing defensive driving. Your teenager is more likely to follow your lead if he or she sees you consistently practicing safe driving habits.
Provide practice opportunities
Practice is the key to becoming a skilled driver. Start in a controlled environment, like an empty parking lot, and gradually progress to more complex situations. Emphasize skills such as parking, turning, merging onto highways and parallel parking. Give constructive feedback to help your teenager improve.
Teens are more susceptible to distractions while driving. Emphasize the importance of focusing solely on the road and teach him or her to resist the temptation of using the phone, eating or adjusting the radio while driving.
Encourage defensive driving
Teach your teenager to anticipate the actions of other drivers and prepare for unexpected situations. Stress that you must maintain a safe following distance and scan the road for potential hazards.
Even if your teenager tries to drive safely, others are not always as careful. If your child sustained injuries in a car accident, take steps to protect his or her right to proper compensation.