Getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage for teens turning 16, but that freedom can be stressful for parents. Auto accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers, so moms and dads have good reason to worry. Fortunately, many of these deadly accidents can be prevented. If your teen is ready to hit the road, here are five tips to keep them safe.
Take a Safe Driving Course
Whether taken at school or from a private company, a safe driving course is a must for new drivers. Don’t rely on yourself to teach your teen everything because there are a lot of things you may have forgotten over the years. In fact, you should consider taking the course along with your teen. It may even lower your car insurance premium.
Implement a Zero-tolerance Drinking and Driving Policy
Drinking and driving is both illegal and a huge risk. Make sure your teen understands that if they ever get caught drinking and driving, their car will be taken away and never returned. Follow up on the threat and don’t give in because your child’s life is more important than preventing a tantrum.
Your teen might enjoy driving friends around, but the presence of peers in the car can be a distraction and increase the risk of an accident. Other kids in the car also create a liability that ultimately falls on you as the parent. If your teen driver is in an accident that injures themselves or another child.
Invest in a Safe Car
While it might be tempting to turn your child loose in the cheapest car you can find, that low-cost vehicle can be a risk. The cheapest used cars tend to be old and well-worn, which means they may lack safety features and the ones they do have could malfunction. Make sure, whether you buy a new or used car, to have it looked over by a qualified mechanic and that you insure it properly.
Be a Good Example
You can’t expect your teen to be a safe driver if you’re constantly speeding, not wearing your seat belt or aggressively weaving through traffic. When you’re in the car together, remember to drive the way that you want your teen to drive.
After you’ve done everything you can to keep your teen safe on the road, it’s time to step back and trust them. Although it might be hard, getting a license and driving on their own is an important milestone that your child needs to experience on their path to adulthood.