Even though teens learn the basics of driving through driver’s education classes, it’s the parent’s job to steer them toward practical, safe driving habits. This is because driving instructors might teach teens how to operate the vehicle, but it’s the parents who teach their children how to drive. Good drivers aren’t born. They are molded and shaped by experience, and they get more experience from their parents than anyone else. Below are five skills you should teach your teens before they hit the road driving.
1. Curfews, Speed Limits and Location Restrictions
Engage your teenager in a conversation about limitations and rules. Some companies offer safe-driving contracts so that teens are held accountable for their actions. Some insurance companies have programs that use technology to help parents protect their teenage drivers as they gain driving experience. An on-board GPS and notification system gives parents peace of mind when their kids are out on the road. Parents can set limits on speed, curfew times and distance, and the program allows them to access the teens’ vehicle so that they know if their teen is in a dangerous situation.
2. Designated Driver
We all hope that our teens don’t drink, but the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration reports that more than 50 percent of teens have had a drink by the time they reach 15 years old. To keep your teen from driving home with a friend who claims that they are sober, parents should let their teens know that it is always acceptable to call them anytime of the day or night for a ride home.
3. Defensive Driving Skills
Even though teens learn about defensive driving, they can learn more from their parents. Arrange an obstacle course in your own driveway for your teen. Teens can learn how to avoid certain circumstances and accidents from your driving experiences. Children live what they learn, and they watch you drive long before they ever hit the road. Be a good role model.
4. Car Maintenance
Teens are better off starting out in used cars as they will more than likely experience a few bumps and bruises as they learn to drive. Taking care of their used car is important. This means that they should know what maintenance needs to be performed – tire rotation, oil changes, brake maintenance, windshield fluid and more. There are plenty of locations for auto repair, Utah auto experts say it doesn’t matter who performs maintenance on the car as long as someone does.
5. Knowing the Driving Laws
In the 90s, states began enacting the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws for safer driving with teens. This allows young drivers to gain a little experience before they can go for a full-privilege license. Parents can take advantage of the GDL program to reinforce the driving rules and restrictions with their teens.
It’s important to keep our teens safe when driving on the roads. By following some of the above tips, you can help your child become a better and safer driver.