As a parent, keeping your child safe is a top priority. Once your child becomes a teenager, they will naturally take on more responsibility, and want to discover their own sense of independence. It can be hard for parents to let go, and to allow their children to go off on their own, especially when it comes to new teen drivers.
Did you know...
*In 2012, 1/3 of 60% of teen drivers behind the wheel were involved in an automobile accident.
*Teenagers are three times more likely to have an accident than adult drivers.
*Teens are at their highest risk for an accident during their first year behind the wheel.
Setting ground rules for your new teen driver can significantly reduce the risk of them causing or being involved in a car accident- by as much as up to 50%. Whether your teen in behind the wheel, or is the passenger while riding with a friend, it's important to set rules of their own safety, and your peace of mind. The conversation may be uncomfortable, and you may receive resistance from your teen at first, but setting ground rules is imperative before your teen gets behind the wheel.
Set the example for your teen. You may think that your teen never listens to a word you say, but more often than not, they're watching you, and learning by your example as their parent. Be extra aware of your behavior as a driver when your teen is in the passenger seat, and make sure you're doing all of the things that good and safe drivers should be doing- from buckling up and checking mirrors to safely changing lanes and obeying the rules of the road.
Set a curfew, and pay attention to your state's laws and regulations for new drivers. Many states have graduated license programs, which must be strictly followed. Many of the programs include rules about the ages of passengers allowed in the vehicle while the new driver is behind the wheel, and there may also be set curfews. If not, there is nothing wrong with setting your own rules as their parent as far as who they can and can't have riding in the car, who they can or can't ride along with, and what time they have to be home.
Set a rule regarding using devices in the car. Texting and driving is illegal in many states, and many states also require a hands-free system be used if talking on the phone while driving. Check your local laws, and make sure your teen knows what they are. Even if your state doesn't have such laws in place, you can certainly set your own rules when it comes to talking on the phone while driving. You may consider gifting your teen a hands-fee device to be used if they have to make a call while on the road, or may set a rule where they must safely pull over if they feel a call needs to be made, or if there is an emergency. You may even want to consider that your teen driver and their passenger(s) power down their devices while in the car, so there will be no electronic distractions while driving.
It's up to you to pay attention to your teen's driving habits, and to set and enforce rules that will keep them and their potential passengers safe.
This post brought to you by Sudbay Chrysler Jeep Dodge.