If your teen will be driving themself to school or driving for the first time, it’s important to keep your teen driver safe as possible. Here are some tips.
As a parent, the desire to keep your children safe never goes away, no matter how old they are. That includes when they’re teenagers. In fact, a whole new kind of worry can easily creep into your head when your child becomes a teen, especially as they start to drive.
As of 2017, teens aged 15-19 made up about 6.5% of the population. Needless to say, that’s a lot of teenagers on the road! Unfortunately, teen drivers are also responsible for thousands of car accidents in the U.S. Also in 2017, over 300,000 teenagers were treated in hospitals for injuries sustained in vehicle accidents.
So, whether your teen is going back to school and will be driving themselves for the first time or they recently got their license and they’re ready to hit the road, it’s important to keep them as safe as possible. When your children are young, your focus might be on creating a safe and healthy home. But, that doesn’t stop just because they’re behind the wheel.
What can you do to keep your teen driver safe while still allowing them some freedom and independence?
1. Set Ground Rules
Before your teenager even gets behind the wheel, it’s important to have a serious conversation with them about your expectations while they’re driving. Obviously, every family’s ground rules will vary.
Think about what’s important to you when it comes to keeping your teen safe behind the wheel. Some examples of ground rules might include:
- Only letting them drive during the daytime
- Not allowing more than one other passenger in their car
- No cell phone use while driving
2. Lead By Example
You probably already know that from a young age, your children are watching everything you do. That doesn’t change as they get older, even though they probably don’t want to admit they’re still looking to you for guidance.
With that in mind, be attentive with your own driving skills when your teen is in the car. Follow the rules, and practice good safety measures like wearing your seatbelt. Don’t do things like look at your phone, put on makeup, or eat while you’re in the car. Your teen might think those things are acceptable if they see you doing them, even if you say they’re not.
3. Teach Them What To Do In An Emergency
Obviously, you don’t want to think about your teenager ending up in an emergency situation. Unfortunately, it can happen. Many car accidents result in things like hospital visits and working with attorneys (whether locally or those who specialize in personal injury in different cities, like OKC). So, it’s important for your teenager to know what to do at the scene of an accident in order to stay safe and protected.
4. Make Sure Their Car is Well-Maintained
One of the best ways to have some peace of mind about your teenager’s safety on the road is to make sure their car is well-maintained and up-to-date on everything it needs. That includes oil changes, tire rotation, and any other regular maintenance it requires.
Talk to your teen driver about what kind of maintenance they should regularly perform on their car, and make it their responsibility to ensure it gets done after they know the regular maintenance schedule. It also isn’t a bad idea to teach them how to do some things on their own, like changing a tire. This can be a great resource for them if they ever find themselves in an emergency maintenance situation and can’t get a professional to help right away.
You can go one step further by including both a first aid kit and an emergency road kit for your teenager when they start driving. It will serve as a good reminder to them how seriously they need to take their time behind the wheel. But, it can also make you feel better, knowing they have everything they need to stay safe if something unexpected happens.
Ensuring Your Teen is Road Ready
As a parent, you may never be fully ready to watch your teenager pull out of the driveway on their own for the first time. But, it’s something everyone has to go through, and trust that your new driver will be safe on the road.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help ensure that and give yourself some peace of mind. Keep these tips in mind when your teenager starts driving for the first time, and you will be able to take some of those worries off of your shoulders and feel better about them hitting the road.