Do you have a teenage driver? As adults, we take driving for granted. We do it every day – it becomes second nature. We forget about really how difficult driving can be when you are just starting out, especially in today’s world with so many distractions (such as smartphones). If you have a teenage driver, take a quick look at these tips and think about adopting them in your home and on the roads. And remember: your children, even teenagers, will mimic your behavior, so be sure to set a good example.
1. No phones while driving. Phones can be a major distraction to teenagers who are used to being in constant contact with friends. Create a plan to eliminate this distraction while driving. Maybe leave the purse with the cell phone in the back seat or lock it in the glove compartment while driving. Leave the phone out of arm’s reach to ensure there is little temptation.
2. No friends in the car. While your teen is learning to drive, make a rule that they cannot have friends in the car. Having a single teenage passenger in the car can double the risk of a car crash. It could be as simple as a friend saying “Look what Susie posted on Instagram” that will cause your teen to take his/her eyes off the wheel for just a moment. A lot can happen in that moment – including a car crash.
3. Practice. Ride with your teen on a regular basis and continue to teach. Just because they have their drivers’ license doesn’t mean they know everything. Keep practicing with them and helping them improve their driving skills. Have them drive with you in different scenarios – highways, twisty back roads, on city roads – on a frequent basis while they build up their skills.
4. Absolutely never allow drinking and driving – this includes for yourself. If your teen sees you have a glass of wine and get behind the wheel, they may mimic that behavior. Drinking and driving is dangerous for experienced drivers and even more dangerous for new, inexperienced drivers.
Instilling these tips in your home may reduce the risk of a car crash. Remember to be consistent and think about driving from the perspective of a teenager who does not have the years of experience that you do.