Like pretty much every teenager, yours might be eagerly looking forward to passing their test, and finally being able to drive without mom or dad talking them through everything. Mom and dad, on the other hand, might be dreading the thought, especially with the age-old image of reckless teenagers causing accidents. If you’ve still got a while to teach your kids safe driving habits, here’s some of my best advice for going about it.
Image from Flickr
Be a Role Model
A lot of parents tend to be a little hypocritical when teaching life skills like driving. Though you want your kid to be the safest driver on the road, you’re probably confident enough with driving that you’ve got into some bad habits yourself. If this is the case, then take some time to review your own driving habits, and iron out anything that your kids could see and imitate. Ask any experienced accident lawyer, and they’ll tell you that distracted driving is one of the biggest causes for serious traffic collisions. If you know that you’re glancing down to read texts or change the song a lot, then this is one thing that certainly needs to stop! Aside from that, basic behaviors like keeping a safe following distance, using turn signals and checking mirrors are all important to demonstrate.
Don’t be a Scare-Monger
There are a lot of pretty scary statistics about the accident rates of teen drivers, not to mention all those morbid videos about the dangers of drink driving, texting at the wheel and speeding. As a parent, you’ll naturally be a little skittish about the idea of your teen driving unaccompanied. Still, if you really want to drill some safe driving habits into your kid, it’s important to keep a positive attitude when teaching them, and avoid being a scare monger. For example, if they’re driving a little too close to the car in front, simply ask them how many seconds there are at this speed between you and the car in front. Don’t yell that they’re driving too fast or that they’re going to cause a crash! Everyone, especially teenagers, is more receptive to calm, collected teaching methods. By keeping your cool, you’ll not only ingrain great driving habits in your teen, but also help them out with actually getting their license.
Set Them Rules
As much as you’d like to be able to monitor your teen’s driving all the time, eventually they’re going to be driving by themselves, and you’re going to have to give them that freedom. Still, by setting some firm rules, you can up the chances of your teen driving safely when they’re on the road by themselves. Establish strict limits, such as keeping their phone out of reach when driving, or setting a cap on the number of friends that they’re allowed in their car at any one time. It may also give you a little more peace of mind to set a curfew for night time driving. I can’t promise that your teen will be all that receptive to the rules you suggest, but it’s always worth setting boundaries!