Your teenager learning to drive and getting their license is a major rite of passage. As their parent, you are most likely proud of them for learning this important life skill and gaining more independence, while also worrying at least a little bit about their safety. The thought of your child getting into a car accident can be terrifying. Luckily, there are things you can do to help ensure their safety on the road. Here are five ways to keep your teen driver safe:
Make Sure They've Had Enough Lessons
The more experienced your teen is at driving, the better they will be able to handle themselves on the road. While your teenager may have completed the minimum amount of behind-the-wheel driving time required by driver's education, and passed their driving test, that doesn't mean they're done practicing. If your child seems nervous or uncertain behind the wheel, be sure to pay for extra lessons or spend more time showing them the ropes yourself.
Discourage Driving st Night
Due to a lack of visibility and increased fatigue, driving at night can be more dangerous than driving during the day, especially for inexperienced drivers. While your teenager is gaining experience, you may wish to set a rule that they aren't allowed to drive at night. Once they do begin driving at night, be sure to have them practice with you in the car at first. Over time they will become more used to seeing the road and potential obstacles in the dark. Encourage them to properly use their headlights, to slow down, and to never drive when overly tired.
Sign Them Up for Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance is a must for any driver, but especially for those who are new to driving. By signing your child up for roadside assistance you will have the peace of mind that comes from knowing they can call for quick help in a number of potentially unsafe situations. Rather than being stranded by the side of the road in the case of getting locked out or having a flat tire, they can simply call for professional help.
Limit the Number of Passengers
Ideally, you will be able to set a rule that no passengers are allowed in your teen's car while they are driving. This is because the distraction of having passengers significantly increases the risk of an accident. Statistics show that having just one passenger increases the chances of a teenager getting into an accident by 44%, with additional passengers adding even more risk.
It's best to let your teen know they won't be able to give rides to their friends until they become more experienced at driving and have a demonstrated record of safety behind the wheel. If they must occasionally drive with passengers, emphasize the importance of not becoming distracted.
Emphasize the Danger of Texting and Driving
Teenagers and texting go hand-in-hand, but the driver's seat is a no texting zone. Your teenager needs to understand that texting and driving is simply not acceptable, no matter the situation. Explain to them that texting increases the risk of an accident by at least 23% compared to driving without distractions.
If they don't seem to take your warnings about texting and driving seriously, you may wish to install a texting and driving safety app on their phone. These apps can block incoming and outgoing texts while your teen is driving, allowing them to receive and respond to the texts only once they pull over.
By following these five tips, your teenager will be a safer and more confident driver, and you will have more peace of mind.