How to help your teen driver stay safe behind the wheel

Driving, like many life skills, takes time and practice to improve. In fact, you probably sat beside your teen child as they first learned the rules of the road and gained necessary experience to pass their driver’s test.

Now that they are taking their newly received license to the roads without you, there are still ways you can continue to teach safe habits. From setting rules and expectations to practicing what you preach, you can help your teen drive with caution even when you aren’t riding along in the passenger seat.

Set an example

Chances are if you are the parent or caretaker of a teenage child, then there are times you will still be driving them from place-to-place — whether they have their license or not. As you take the wheel, it’s essential to lead by example. You can do this by following traffic rules, practicing defensive driving habits and not engaging in distracted driving.

Set the rules

Once your child can legally drive, it’s important to let them know that driving is a privilege and there are real-life consequences to breaking laws or bad driving habits. You can do this by telling your teen driver to:

  • Buckle up and have passengers wear seatbelts too
  • Not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Drive according to the speed limit
  • Only drive with one passenger within six months of receiving their license
  • Come home before the sun sets, to reduce the chance of a nighttime accident

Coming up with a way to enforce these guidelines before each car ride at the beginning of their solo driving journey can help teach your child to become a cautious driver for many years to come.

Set phone down

There are many distractions drivers can experience while behind the wheel — from letting one’s mind wander or eating drive-thru food. While warning against all distracted driving is important, you should also stress the importance of not texting and driving when teaching your child how to drive. Since texting leads one’s eyes and mind off the road ahead, it’s a better idea to safely pull over to type a message, take a call or check social media.

Although it might come as a relief that you don’t have to drive your child everywhere once they receive their license, it’s important to keep conversations around safe driving ongoing.