If you’re the parent of a teenager who is just about to get their driver’s license, you might feel nervous about their safety while driving alone. After all, teens who don’t have much driving experience may drive recklessly with friends or not fully understand the dangers of being on the road. What can you do as a parent to make sure they’re safe behind the wheel at all times? Here are a few ideas to put into place before you hand over the keys.
Be a Good Example
One of the best things you can do to ensure your teen’s best driving behavior is to model it yourself. If you tend to bend driving rules a bit, start being extra vigilant about obeying driving laws. Fully stop at stop signs, don’t run yellow lights, use your blinker when merging, and refrain from using your cell phone. Your teenager soaks up more than you might expect, and you won’t look like a hypocrite when you set strict driving rules.
Spend Extra Time with Them
Another way you can ensure safety is to spend extra time with your teen on the road. Sure, they may go through Driver’s Ed and private driving lessons, but it’s not enough. People become better drivers by practicing often, so spend a couple hours a week in practicing in an abandoned parking lot or driving around town. Your child will feel more comfortable on the road.
Set Clear Expectations
Just like kids need structure at home, they need rules for driving. Set clear expectations as to how they should act while driving. Some basic rules could include:
- Don’t drive any other teenagers around
- No texting
- A driving curfew
- If you must drink, don’t drive
The last point may seem like a shock to you. However, while you might teach your teen to abstain from drinking until they’re 21, they might do it anyway. Let them know that you don’t approve of drinking at all, but if they are going to, they shouldn’t drive. Drunk driving is worse than coming home on time. If your child does end up driving drunk, a local DUI lawyer can help you navigate that situation.
Give Rewards for Good Driving
If your child does obey all of your rules, give them rewards. Say they have no accidents and no tickets for 6 months or a year. Show them you’re proud of them and give them a reward they’ve been wanting for a while. They’ll be more likely to obey the rules if they have positive reinforcement.
Make Them Pay for Car Bills
The last way to ensure a safe teen driver is to give them responsibility over the car they drive. Talk with your spouse about proper parameters, but consider asking them to foot part of the insurance, gas and car payment bills. They’ll be more likely to be careful with a car if they know what a luxury it is to even have a car to drive.
Having a teenage driver doesn’t have to be a scary experience. Follow these 5 tips and see how good of a driver your child becomes.