Every parent experiences a mix of pride and anxiety when their teenager starts learning to drive. It marks a significant milestone in your child’s life, but it also introduces a new set of concerns.
Here are some tips to help you navigate the road ahead with your new driver.
Establish clear expectations
Setting clear expectations is the foundation of responsible driving. Communicate your rules regarding speed limits, curfew and responsible vehicle use. Reinforce the importance of following traffic laws and the consequences of reckless behavior. This establishes a framework for responsible driving behavior.
Practice defensive driving techniques
Teach your new driver the importance of defensive driving, and emphasize the need to anticipate and react to potential hazards on the road. Encourage scanning the surroundings, maintaining a safe following distance and being aware of blind spots. Defensive driving not only ensures their safety but also reduces the risk of accidents.
Allow gradual exposure to different driving conditions
Gradually expose your teen to various driving conditions to build their confidence and competence. Begin with familiar, low-traffic areas and progress to more challenging situations, such as highway driving. This approach helps your teen develop a well-rounded set of driving skills.
Model responsible behavior
Parents are the most influential role models for teenagers. Demonstrate responsible driving habits by adhering to traffic laws, avoiding distractions and practicing patience. Your actions behind the wheel speak louder than words, shaping your teen’s attitude toward responsible driving.
Encourage regular vehicle maintenance
Teach your new driver the importance of regular vehicle maintenance. Emphasize checking tire pressure, fluid levels and brakes regularly. A well-maintained vehicle is not only safer but also contributes to a smoother driving experience.
Emphasize the dangers of distracted driving
Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents among new drivers. Stress the importance of keeping phones and other distractions out of reach while driving. Encourage them to focus solely on the road to reduce the risk of accidents.
Young drivers aged 13 to 19 are particularly at risk, with around 2,800 of them dying in vehicle collisions in 2020. As parents, it is your responsibility to equip your teens with the knowledge and skills they need to become safe drivers.