Teens are involved in three times as many accidents as older drivers, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports. Teen drivers are inexperienced, don’t always make the best judgment calls or realize how much responsibility driving carries. They may also forget exactly what they should be doing when they get behind the wheel.
Take the opportunity to create a parent-teen driving agreement when he first gets his permit or license, and your teen will know exactly what you expect him to do when he’s in the car. You will both be on the same page as he develops the skills necessary to become a safe and responsible driver.
Distracted driving is a bad combination for any driver. It is especially bad for teens who don’t possess the skills to react quickly or appropriately to problems. Distraction.gov reports teens are twice as likely to be in an accident if they text while driving. Set strict rules against texting on the parent-teen driving agreement to curtail this kind of activity.
Wireless carriers and third party app developers also create distracted driving apps that auto-respond to incoming texts, calls, and prevent your teen from sending out any messages when the vehicle is moving above a certain speed. QuietZone, Textecution, and DriveMode are three examples of apps that prevent texting while driving.
Also limit the number of passengers who travel with your teen. It’s easy for your teen to get distracted by talking friends. Several states have graduated licensing programs that prevent new teen drivers from carrying passengers not related to them. If your state does not have any passengers restrictions, set a specific number of driving practice hours in your parent-teen driving agreement before allowing passengers.
You shouldn’t be the only one teaching your teen the rules of the road. Driving schools provide additional behind-the-wheel training and driving tests for your teen. Your teen’s driver education program may have suggestions for specific driving schools, or may offer additional lessons directly.
The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that 12,174 lives were saved by seat belts in auto accidents in 2012. In a vast majority of the United States, it’s illegal to not wear your seat belt. Make sure your teen understands that if they’re in the car they need to be wearing their seat belts.
Permits and graduated license programs generally restrict the hours teen drivers can be on the road, but write your own preferred curfew into the parent-teen driving contract, as well. As your teen gains experience, allow him to drive at dusk and at night so he has exposure to those conditions. In addition, you may want to set restrictions on driving due to inclement weather conditions.
Require your teen to keep you up to date on plans, particularly if he is using your car to get around. Communication is key to being considerate of your time and feelings. You don’t want to be up late worrying about whether something happened on the road. Eventually he’ll get used to it or you need to remind him you can take the car keys away.