Summer is here and that means the "kids" have been set loose. There are more teens on the road and with that comes the opportunity for accidents, tickets, inattentive driving, and more mayhem. To avoid trouble when handing your teen the keys to the family car, here are 5 general safety tips to help keep them safe behind the wheel.
- Keep the Cell Phone OFF! It's likely that when today's parents started driving, cell phones were not even an issue. However, the times have changed and cell phone use while driving causes many accidents. Have a no excuses rule in your home that cell phones remain off when your teen is behind the wheel. Texting while driving takes your eyes off the road and causes you to become inattentive. New drivers can't afford to not pay attention, so keep the phones out of the equation.
- Obey the Rules of the Road Sometimes teens are granted their driver's license when they're not really completely prepared to be off on their own. The rules of the road are there for a reason: to prevent accidents. Make sure your teen is well versed in rules like right-of-way, speed limits, and passing rules.
- Drive Alone For the first few months of driving, make sure your teen isn't packing the vehicle like a clown car with all of their friends. This leads to being distracted and puts other lives in danger with an inexperienced and possibly inattentive driver. Let them get a feel for the road and the vehicle before you have them carpooling places.
- Drive Defensively Defensive driving is a skill that comes with time and practice, but it's never too early to start instilling the skills in your young driver. Remind them to be aware of the cars around them and what they are doing, to stay out of other drivers' blind spots, and to give enough space between cars, especially on the highway.
- Choose the Car Wisely Choosing a car for your teen to drive is an important task. Make sure the car is safe, well-maintained, and won't leave them stranded on the side of the road. In addition, make sure your teens know basic car maintenance, such as how to change a tire or check the oil levels. Having a teen behind the wheel can be an exciting but anxious time for a parent. Your child is growing up but still has a lot to learn before they are experienced and capable drivers. Walking with them on the journey and reminding them of the driver safety pointers will help ensure that you both have a level of comfort with this new rite of passage.
Works Consulted: "Safe Driving Tips for Teens".,www.dmv.org,Accessed: 6/19/2017