If you have a teenager about to take on the road for the first time, you are probably internally panicking. Will they be able to handle it? What if they get in an accident? How will I know if they’re being safe? All of these questions are completely natural for any parent to have concerning their newly-licensed teen. Here are a few tips for you to follow to make sure they are prepared for the responsibility of driving.
Practice With Them
The best way to become a better driver is to practice! Ride with your child when he or she drives so you can give them constructive criticism and answer any questions they may have. Your child may have their license, but that doesn’t technically mean they are ready to handle the road all by themselves. You will know better than anyone if they are ready, so be sure they are truly able to handle the task of driving when you do grant them permission to drive alone.
It’s essential for the parent or guardian to make clear driving rules right from the beginning. Set a curfew before midnight, tell them to always wear a seat belt, restrict the number of friends they can drive at once and, most importantly, establish a no-phone policy. Teens are especially susceptible to checking their phone for texts or social media updates, so be strict about enforcing a no-phone rule while driving. Minimizing distractions is always important, and for a young driver it is best to start these safe-driving habits early on.
Teach Them about Their Car
As a new driver, it’s highly unlikely your teen will know all of the buttons, switches and dashboard warning lights in their car. Everything from the emergency break to the hazards should be reviewed because even though something may seem basic, you must remember your teen hasn’t experienced driving like you have. Point out even the most explanatory functions, just in case they are unaware. The dashboard lights and signals are vital to keeping both them and their car safe. Another thing to teach them about is the cost of having a car. Go over finances, such as monthly payments, gas prices and repair costs, so they are knowledgeable about just how much driving and owning a car costs.
Help Them Be Prepared
Of course you want to aid your teen in being a good driver, but the fact of the matter is, when a car emergency happens there is a chance you won’t be there with them. Make sure your teen’s car has a GPS, spare tire, flashlight, first aid kit and blanket, so they will be prepared in case of an emergency. You never know when their car will breakdown, so it’s always best to be over-prepared for any situation instead of under-prepared.
Practice What You Preach
Your newly-licensed child has encountered your driving techniques for at least 16 years. They may pick up on your driving habits and exhibit them themselves. You want to make sure, specifically when they are close to getting their license, that you are displaying safe, responsible driving techniques. Driving is intuitive and automatic, but for the sake of your child’s future driving habits, make a conscious effort to be the best driver and example you can be.
Encourage Good Grades
Why would encouraging good grades help your teen become a good driver? Many families are unaware of the amazing discounts they can receive for their children having good grades. Progressive has a Good Grade Discount that can help them qualify for lower car insurance rates for students with at least a B average. They do this because typically good, hardworking students exhibit safe driving skills and they want to recognize and reward that. The benefits from getting good grades go beyond getting into a good college- they can save you money!
To take it a step further, Progressive has the option to purchase a small sensor that attaches to the car, records driving habits, and then sends the results back to Progressive for you to view.
Following these simple tips can put your mind at ease once your teen takes on driving. For more, take a look at our article on How to Make 2015 Your Safest Year on the Road.
Do you have any teen driving experiences or tips you’d like to share?