If you’re the parent of a teenager who’s about to get their driver’s license, you’re probably a little panicked at the thought of your kid getting behind the wheel of a car. That’s perfectly normal. Letting your child roll out the door with the car keys in hand might send a pang through the heart.
But we’ve got good news: there are things you can do as a parent to help keep your teen driver safe on the road. Check out the following list.
1. Talk about texting and driving.
You need to make it very clear to your teenager why it’s dangerous to text and drive or talk on the phone and drive. Every parent wants to think that their kid will resist the temptation to use their phone while driving, but it’s important to let your child know that your expectation, not to mention the law, is no phone while driving.
2. Send your teen to driver’s ed.
Taking a driver’s ed class helps gives your teen driver more practice behind the wheel. It will also help reinforce the skills they need to be a responsible, safe driver. Plus, you might get a discount that will help you save money on teen auto insurance if you send your kid to driver’s ed.
3. Have your teen get lots of practice.
Practice makes perfect. It’s a good idea to have your teen driver get plenty of road time before testing for their license. Have them get their permit as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to have them practice in different driving conditions, such as traffic and rain (of course, it’s important that your child feels comfortable and confident enough behind the wheel before you introduce new variables like rain.) Driving is scary enough without having to worry about how to drive safely in the rain.
4. Set some rules.
Most states have laws for newly licensed drivers. Georgia law forbids drivers under the age of 18 from being on the road from midnight to 6 a.m. It also limits the number of passengers you can have in the car at once. Driving with any amount of alcohol in the blood is illegal for drivers under 21.
Those are only a few of the limitations placed on new drivers. Familiarize yourself with Georgia laws and make sure your teen understands and knows them, too. Be sure to enforce these laws – they were created for a reason. You may even want to create some rules of your own.
Pro tip: Come up with a parent-teen contract of safe driving rules that you want your teen to follow. Distracted driving, curfew, seatbelt use, passengers, and “radius” might be some things you lay out in your contract. Then have your teen driver sign it. Studies have shown that a formal agreement reduces risky behavior.
5. Set a good example.
If you’re being a safe driver, your teen will see your good habits and hopefully emulate them. If they see you fiddling with your phone, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, eating, or losing your temper, how can you expect them not to do the same? Kids (including teen drivers) absorb everything. So, teach your teen how to be a safe driver by showing them.
6. Present them with the keys to the “family car.”
Rather than getting your teen driver a new car or even a new-used car, let them drive the family car. This might encourage them to be more responsible and make good decisions.
7. Make sure the car they’re driving is safe.
Doing some research on safety features and ratings can help you make a good, informed choice about which vehicle your teen will drive. You want to have them in a car that will protect them if anything happens. Though the sports car that they really want is super cool, a small SUV or sturdy sedan is probably a safer option.
8. Don’t let your teen drive tired.
Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving in terms of worsened reaction time. High schoolers often have to stay up late to cram for tests or finish homework. If your teen stays up late and is running low on sleep, offer to drive them to school or encourage them to take the bus. Phrase it as being an extra chance to get some rest and relax.
9. Show them that the time for seatbelts is all the time.
Your teen driver needs to understand that seatbelts are not optional. Every passenger and the driver needs to be buckled up. It’s the driver’s job to do a seatbelt check and make sure that everyone is good to go before departing. This is for everyone’s safety: seatbelts prevent people from being thrown from vehicles if there is a crash. Seatbelts save lives.
10. Emphasize communication.
Have your teen driver get in the habit of telling you where they’re going, how long they’ll be, and when they’re on their way home. You’ll feel better about your kid charging off on their own if you have a system for checking that they arrived safely. (But of course emphasize no texting while driving, even if they’re texting you.)
Having a teen who’s ready to get their license and start driving is nerve-wracking for parents. But by encouraging good driving habits and giving your kid the opportunity to get lots of practice, you can help them stay safe behind the wheel.
We can also help you save money on teen auto insurance. All you have to do to get quotes for auto insurance is fill out our quote form or give us a call today. We would be happy to help you find quality insurance at a great rate.