A huge milestone in any teen’s life is the day that he or she gets a driver’s license. It’s a big step towards adulthood that brings a new level of independence. For parents of teens, this can be both an exciting time as well as one filled with new anxieties. You may be excited that your days of shuttling your child around are coming to a close, however, you know the dangers that exist on the road. Review these five safe driving keys with your child often before you hand over the keys to the car.
1. Review the rules of the road.
With limited time and experience behind the wheel, your child’s response time to driving scenarios is diminished. Review basic rules such as safe passing, making left turns and driving speeds with appropriate gaps between cars. Of course, seat belts should always be mandatory.
2. Set clear consequences for driving under the influence.
Be clear with your teen regarding both legal and household consequences for driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medications. You may even find it helpful to contact a trusted DUI attorney for information on the legal ramifications of such a charge. A lawyer who is well-versed in the “inner workings of investigations” by police officers will be able to give you the most accurate information and advice.
3. Get educated about distracted driving.
Look for an app that you can download to your teen’s phone to avoid distracted driving. Texting, talking, or any engagement with a cell phone is dangerous and causes accidents. There are many safe driving apps available for devices with options such as disabling texting, emailing or calls while driving.
4. Practice bad weather driving.
When minor bad weather hits, use the opportunity to get in the car with your child for some real-time instruction. Remind your teen about turning her lights on during rain or snow storms. Don’t forget to emphasize that pulling over in a safe spot and waiting it out is always an option if they are feeling overwhelmed.
5. Look to local programs or online tools for help.
Many areas have local safe driving programs that can help your teen even after he has passed his exam. Further, check your insurance company’s website for online resources that often offer rewards as incentives.
Remember that learning how to drive safe doesn’t stop when the driver’s license is issued. Teens, in particular, need consistent reminders and practice to keep them safe behind the wheel for years to come.