Tips for Parents with Teen Drivers

Teen Driver with License

Having a driver’s license opens up a whole new world of responsibilities for a teenage driver. Parents and other adults in a teen’s life can be a role model, teaching them to be safe, responsible drivers.

Young Driver Related Car Accidents

Speeding and distraction are two of the main causes of car accidents involving a young driver, someone between the ages of 15 to 20. According to the National Safety Council, talking on the cell phone has decreased some as a cause of accidents; however, visibly manipulating a handheld device (i.e., texting, checking Facebook) has grown steadily, especially in this age group.

Car accidents are a leading cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds. Share on X

Role Model Safe Driving Practices for Teen Drivers

Parents and other drivers in a teen’s life can demonstrate safe driving practices for teen drivers. Be sure to set the example you want your teen driver to follow.

Set Expectations for Teen Drivers

Your teen needs to understand your expectations … but don’t make it a lecture. Teens have a habit of tuning out! However, it can be tough not to be too overprotective when it comes to your teen’s safety.

Car maintenance. Teens need to understand what good car care entails. As a driver, they are also responsible for ensuring the gas tank is full, knowing if the oil needs to be changed, checking tire pressure and other regular maintenance tasks.

Make sure your teen driver has safety equipment stowed in his or her car, such as:

  • Emergency kit containing flashlight, batteries, road flares, bungee cords, tools, blankets and appropriate seasonal items (i.e., sand or salt for winter time).
  • Spare tire along with a jack and lug wrench.
  • Portable phone charger and extra GPS, if available

Distractions. Make sure teen drivers understand that distracted driving is more than just texting, emailing and talking on the cell phone. Distractions range from eating to brushing hair, putting on makeup, adjusting the air conditioner … anything that takes the mind off driving or off the road is a distraction.

Passengers. A best practice is to limit the number of passengers riding in the car with your teen driver. Friends can be very distracting.

Night driving and falling asleep at the wheel. Driving after dark is difficult even for the best of drivers. Teens driving at night have a four times higher fatality rate in crashes vs. driving in daytime, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Make sure your teen driver knows the signs of drowsiness, such as:

  • Yawning or inability to keep the eyes open
  • Driving over the rumble strips
  • Inability to concentrate
  • The car drifting into another lane

Most of all, accidents do happen so make sure your teen driver knows what to do after an accident.

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photo credit: Grace Turns 16 Years Old. via photopin (license)

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