The number one cause of death among teenagers is car crashes. As they head back to school, there are a number of things you can do to prevent accidents. Especially for new drivers, practicing daily – even after they get their get license will give them valuable experience. Set a good example for your teens by the way you drive and talk to them about these other safety tips.
Practice Makes Better
Although they have their license – it doesn’t mean they know how to drive safely. Driving a vehicle requires split-second decisions and complex skills that new drivers can only develop with more experience. Knowing the roads they drive on, how to adjust to weather conditions, and how to deal with distractions on and off the road are all learned skills.
They also need to learn how the car they drive responds to driving. How it turns, brakes, and more. Continue driving with your teen for at least six months (preferably a year) at least once per week to help them gain new skills after they have their license. Lead by example and drive the way you want them to drive when you are the driver. Learning through trial and error on their own is not the best way – times have changed and so have the risks involved.
When you practice with them, don’t just take short familiar trips. Have them drive to new destinations that take time to reach. Put them in the situations they may encounter when you are not with them. Driving in heavy traffic, crossing difficult intersections, driving on winding roads, and in bad weather.
With school back in session, review the rules about the driver’s responsibility when it comes to crosswalks and when they must stop for buses, as well as, any rules that apply to both operating and parking their vehicle on school property.
Safe Driver Agreement
It’s also important as they head back to school that they know rules that allow them their driving privilege. Set clear expectations of when the car can be used, as well as rules for car usage. Are they allowed to have other passengers? What hours do they have permission to use the vehicle? Any agreements you come to should be put into a New Driver Deal that can be changed as your teen driver becomes more experienced.
You can also tighten the restrictions if your teen does not follow the rules. Be sure they know whose responsibility it is to pay for gas, insurance, and any car payments. Even if your teen is paying all of these themselves, does not mean they can do what they want. Your new driver deal should include obeying all traffic laws, as well as, the rules you agree on or set.
If any part of the agreement is broken at any time, the consequences should be outlined in the agreement and signed by the parents and the new driver. Do not sway from the agreement and when you grant more privileges or take any away, redo the agreement to reflect any changes. Keep them safe both back to school and on the road.