For teenagers, getting their driver’s license is a coming-of-age ritual that they may have waited for impatiently for years. For adults, a teen driver getting their license is a source of anxiety and expense.
You either need to buy your teenager a safe beginner’s vehicle or allow them to use your vehicle occasionally. You will also have to pay for driver’s education courses and insurance. Covering a teen driver is often quite expensive.
As if all of that weren’t bad enough, you have to worry about the fact that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for young adults. How can you help your young adult become a safe and responsible driver?
Establish and enforce rules about safe driving practices
Before you give your teen the keys to your car or even enroll them in driver’s safety training, you need to teach them certain safety rules. While it may seem boring, having specific rules and penalties that include the loss of driving privileges for even a first infraction can help drive home the importance of safety.
Mobile phone use in vehicles is a dangerous source of distraction, so make sure your teen knows to turn the ringer off and set their phone to the side so they don’t feel tempted to use it. Having a zero-tolerance policy for driving without a safety belt is also a smart rule. You may want to limit how many other people your child can drive with in the car, possibly only allowing them to have one friend in the vehicle at a time.
If you find out that your teen broke those rules, while it may be inconvenient to transport them places again, you should immediately rescind their driving privileges for as long as is necessary to teach them the importance of these safety rules.
Your teen is going to copy what you do, not just do what you say
Trying to get a teenager to follow instructions can be hard enough on its own without putting yourself in a position where they can accuse you of being a hypocrite.
In a perfect world, you would always practice safe driving habits with kids in the car. If you have started to slip into bad driving habits, like looking at your phone at stop signs, the sooner you stop doing that, the better. You need to lead by example.
Demonstrating safe driving behavior by not engaging in distraction, always wearing your safety belt and following the rules of the road will teach your children more by example than hours of verbal instructions would.