This is a post by Nancy Evans, and the timing for it seems very apropos. No, we don't have a teen driver, or any teen in our house, for that matter, but my husband, finally, is starting to learn for his driver's license and has his first class tomorrow morning, so these are all important points to review with him as well! No, we still aren't planning on getting a car, but having a license will open more work opportunities for him, as well as allow us the option of renting a car for day trips if need be.
Congratulations, you now have a licensed teenaged driver in your home. It is a monumental moment in their lives that essentially says they’re on their way to independence. As their parent, it’s only natural to have your reservations about the idea. Not only does this means your child is no longer a baby, but you’re also concerned about their safety and well-being on the road. Don’t panic; there is a solution to keeping your teen safe – education and practice.
Luckily, parents play a significant role in keeping their teens safe as they become more experienced drivers. To help you and to ease your fears, here’s some advice on how to instill the importance of safety behind the wheel to your teenager.
Give Them the Stats
To your teen, driving is all about fun, games, and freedom. They now possess the ability to transport themselves and their friends wherever they’d like – naturally, they’re excited. However, you must let them know that while fun, driving can also be dangerous if they’re not paying attention. Inform them of the facts as it pertains to teen driving and motor vehicle accidents.
What To Do in an Accident
While you’re on the subject matter of accidents, you should also talk to them about what they should do if they’re involved in an auto accident. They need to understand the importance of remaining calm, contacting authorities, and documenting everything. This will be essential should you need to contact an auto accident lawyer such as those found online at http://www.coloradolaw.net/html/auto.html.
Set Your Own Rules
Though each state has their own requirements, until you feel comfortable with your teen’s ability to drive and be responsible, you should consider setting your own rules. Some rules might include:
· Setting a curfew for driving such as no driving from 10pm – 7am.
· Limit the number of passengers they’re allowed to have in the car at once and demand that all passengers in the vehicle wear a seat belt.
· Supervised driving is ideal for long distance drives and/or highway trips until they are more experienced.
Have a Serious Talk
After you’ve set the rules it’s important to stress to your teen that driving is a privilege and that if they’re not responsible, those privileges will be taken away. Make sure that they have a clear understanding of what the rules are and what the consequences will be if they break those rules. It doesn’t hurt to explain that not only are their house rules but there are also federal and state rules that if broken could lead to the revocation of their license.
Lead By Example
You can’t very well expect your teen to be a responsible driver if you’re not one yourself. When in the car with your teen make sure that you follow all the rules exactly. While you may be tempted to text and drive, go over the speeding limit or honk your horn at the driver in the slow lane, it’s imperative that you show your teen what is expected of a driver when they’re on the road.
Talk About the Costs
Financial literacy and responsibility is an imperative lesson to teach your teens. Part of this means explaining to them the cost of living. Your teen, even if they don’t contribute at the moment, should be fully aware of how much it costs to drive. This would include things like gas, insurance premiums, maintenance, and car payments. You can also explain the costs of driving recklessly which will encourage them to be a lot more responsible.
When it comes to the safety and well-being of your teenager, the best source of information comes from you. As their parent, part of easing your anxieties and ensuring they’re safe is providing them with factual information, setting some ground rules, and of course leading by example. With time, you’ll learn to trust your teen on the road and they too will become more comfortable with their ability to be on the open road. Hopefully, that’ll be the last of your fears – unless of course they end up wanting to ride a bike.
See my disclaimer.