Help Make Your Teen A Safe Driver

Good parents want their children to be able to tackle all of life’s challenges. Learning to drive is among the most important of those challenges. Parents need to play an active role in the process.

Talk to your teen early and often. Discuss the risks and responsibilities of driving when kids are young – and keep talking to them before, during and after the licensing process to ensure they learn successful, safe driving skills. Give these discussions the same priority as you would discussions about smoking, sex or drugs.

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Don’t rush things. Just because your teen has a permit or license it doesn’t mean they’re ready for every driving condition. Practice with them in empty parking lots or on side streets. Practice at night, in traffic and in adverse weather conditions. Keep in mind that if they do have an accident, it might not be their fault. The fact is, our brains are still developing through the teenage years and don’t reach full maturity until our 20s.

Make sure you’re familiar with your state’s laws (they’ve probably changed since you learned to drive). Many states have enacted laws to help new drivers get on-the-road driving experience under lower-risk conditions, protecting them while they are learning. Know what your state’s requirements are and establish your own rules for when, where, how and with whom your teen may drive.

Practice what you preach. If you speed, roll through stop signs, make rude gestures at other drivers or chat on your cell phone behind the wheel, your teen is likely to do the same.