Have a teenager who is ready for his/her driving license? Each state requires prospective new drivers to obtain a learners permit and to have a certain number of hours of behind the wheel training and classroom instruction time. Additionally, before becoming licensed, drivers must pass a final written and driving test at their local Department of Motor Vehicles. Is this enough training to learn the Rules of the Road? Is there any substitute for a lifetime of experience?
We at Gordon Feinblatt take a strong interest in keeping young adults safe. Therefore, we have compiled a list of our Top Five Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers.
1. Practice driving with your teen: The more time you spend behind the wheel with your teen, the more comfortable they will feel behind the wheel. This includes driving with your teen in various weather conditions. They need to experience that driving on a sunny, clear day is very different then driving in rain or snow. A nervous or anxious driver runs a higher risk of being involved in an automobile accident.
2. Set a good example. As with children, your child may pick up on your bad habits. If you are a speed racer or an aggressive driver, there is a possibility your teen will become one as well. If you breeze through stop signs, your child might adopt similar behavior.
3. Offer feedback: When driving with your teen, provided them with feedback about their driving. If they have areas where improvements need to be made, they need to know what they are. This may mean additional time behind the wheel is warranted
4. Set rules: Rules such as prohibiting the use of their cell phone while behind the wheel can be the difference between life and death. Additionally, it is now against the law to text and drive and this is a primary offense. One of the largest causes of motor vehicle collisions surrounding teens is “Distracted Driving”. You may want to also consider the number of friends (if any) you will permit in the vehicle with your teen. Fewer passengers cut down on distractibility.
5. Be Firm; Driving is a privilege not a right. That’s why it requires a license. This is a privilege that anyone can earn through maturity and demonstration of ability. If your teen does not follow your established rules or you begin to feel uncomfortable with their driving, it is your duty as a parent to take their car keys. It is imperative that teens understand that failure to follow the rules of the road and pay full attention could result in the loss of someone’s life or the ruining of their own.
Taking the time to educate your teen on the proper procedures and rules of the road is an investment in your child’s future. Proper education and training could save a life, including theirs.