Establish boundaries and expectations with your teen driver
Your teen may have successfully completed a driver’s education course and earned their license from the state, but they still need to follow your rules of the road It’s important that you and your teen driver are on the same page regarding limits, behaviors and expectations before you hand over the keys. Your teen may have successfully completed a driver’s education course and earned their license from the state, but they still need to follow your rules of the road.
Cover the basics
Driver’s education taught your teen the basics of driving safety. You need to reinforce that instruction. Remind your teen to always fasten their seatbelt and check their mirrors. If your teen has passengers, remind them that they, too, need to fasten their seatbelts, advises the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Lay down the law
Following traffic laws, especially the posted speed limit, is non-negotiable for your teen driver. Go over the driving laws with your teen and explain that you expect them to be a law-abiding driver. If they do break a driving law and gets a ticket, let them know that their driving privileges will be revoked. They’ll also have to take care of court costs and ticket fees on their own. The extra consequences may help curb reckless behavior.
As a parent, the thought of your teen driver getting behind the wheel after they have been drinking or doing drugs is terrifying. That is why you need to do your best to communicate how dangerous and irresponsible driving under the influence is. There is no acceptable age to drink and drive, but if your child makes a severe error in judgment, let them know how to handle the situation safely. Tell them it’s okay to call you for a ride home. “Almost one out of five teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking,” reports the NHTSA.
Texting and driving is a life-threatening habit behind the wheel. Make it clear with your teen that using their cell phone while driving in any capacity is not allowed. If they need to make a call or respond to a text, encourage them to pull over at a safe spot. If your teen struggles with ignoring their cellphone, make it a rule that their cellphone has to be turned off or stored out of reach in the glove box while they are driving.
Although cell phones pose the most compelling distraction to young drivers (and adults, too), there are a myriad of behaviors that can contribute to distracted driving. Applying makeup, combing hair, drinking and eating are all tasks that threaten a teen’s attention behind the wheel.
“About 10 percent of all teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash,” reports the NHTSA.
Draw up a contract
Going over the rules verbally can be effective, but may not be as effective as presenting your teen with a contract both you and they can sign as well as refer to during their driving career.
“Writing down a set of rules — and perhaps more important, the consequences they’ll face if they violate them — makes it clear what your expectations are,” according to Consumer Reports writer Jen Stockburger.
Watching your teen take responsibility as a driver is a significant moment for both of you. Be sure to establish ground rules and expectations that encourage their independence and prioritize their safety.
Published by Police FCU
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