Ten Tips For Helping Your Teen Become A Safer Driver

April 26, 2023 Published by
Happy dad giving car key to son, permission to drive, parenthood trust, family

In just one year, 2020, about 2,800 teenagers were killed in car crashes in the United States. That same year, 227 thousand teens were treated in emergency rooms after vehicular mishaps. Every day, about eight teens die in wrecks. Every day, over 700 teens get emergency treatment for injuries. Fortunately, there are things parents can do to help their teenage children stay safe.

1. Enroll Your Teen In Driver Ed

Nearly every state has statewide driver education programs for teenagers. (Alabama, Minnesota, and North Dakota rely on local driver education programs.) Driver ed gives students a thorough understanding of the rules of the road, along with expert instruction in driving technique. Once students get their learner’s permit, they can get supervised practice behind the wheel with a patient, experienced, skilled teacher who makes sure they drive safely and confidently.

2. Make Sure Your Teen Gets Plenty Of Supervised Practice

Most states require teens to commit a number of hours behind the wheel before they can take their driving test to get their full license. The log records when and where the student drove, along with the name of the supervising driver in the passenger seat must be presented. Many states require nighttime driving hours, and northern states require first-time licensees to have experience handling a car in winter weather.

Give your child practice sessions in light traffic and heavy traffic. Let them drive in inclement weather. The more varied your child’s experiences on the road, the more likely they are to reach adulthood without a serious incident. The more practice your teen gets, the better.

3. Make Sure Your Teen Buckles Up

Don’t let your teen get behind the wheel until their seat belt is secure. Always insist that your children of any age get buckled into their seats before you leave your driveway. Make buckling up second nature.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that seat belt use by 16 to 24-year-old passengers in the front passenger seat was 90% in 2021, up from 85% in 2020. In the 32 states and the District of Columbia, passengers must wear seat belts when riding in the back seat.

4. Don’t Tolerate Impaired Driving

Many states have lower blood alcohol levels for charging drunk driving for teen drivers. Any alcohol at all puts your teen at risk for a DUI/DWI. And although teens who smoke pot and get behind the wheel are less likely to speed, they are at a 25% greater risk of having an accident, with the risk of being charged with DUI when the police come to the scene.

With teens, zero tolerance is best. Make accommodations for a sober driver to pick up your teen when you know they are impaired.

5. Limit The Number Of Teens Allowed In The Car

All teens are susceptible to peer pressure. When they are driving a car full of other teens, they feel pressure to show off. Teenagers may crank up the music. They get louder to be heard over the music. Any car full of teenagers will surely generate numerous distractions on the road.

Teens need at least six months of experience driving on their own before they are ready to take more than one or two passengers with them, even in light traffic, even on roads they know well. Limit the number of passengers who can ride with your teen until they have substantial experience on the road.

6. Eliminate Phone Use While Driving

Every year, about 3,000 people in the United States die in car crashes caused by distracted driving. Texting while driving is six times more likely to result in a fatality crash than driving drunk. Every day, 11 teenagers die in accidents caused by phone use, and 11 teenagers a day die in crashes caused by texting. Ensure your teen knows that the safety of their friends, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, and themselves depends on waiting until they can come to a safe stop to use their phone.

7. Work Out An Escape Plan

Teens can find themselves in the passenger seat when the driver is impaired. Encourage them to turn down a ride when they know the driver is impaired. Give them a safe word they can use to call you for help when they are concerned about the repercussions of refusing a ride. Be present for them when they need alternative transportation.

8. Draw Up A Written Agreement For Using Your Car (Or The Car You Gave Them)

Make sure your teens know your rules for staying safe in the car. Make a written agreement stating their obligations and the consequences they can expect for failing to meet them. Be particularly insistent that your teen turns to you when something goes wrong. Have no secrets when it comes to driving safely.

9. Enforce Consequences For Breaking The Rules

Take the keys away when your teen comes in drunk or high after driving your car. Let them know for how long. Give them opportunities to earn back your trust.

When your teen’s negligent behavior results in an accident that raises your insurance rates, make them pay for your added premiums. When damage they do to your car is not covered by insurance, let them work off the difference.

10. Most Importantly Of All, Be A Good Example

The most important driver ed instructor your teen has is you. Whenever you are behind the wheel, model all the behaviors you want your teen to emulate. If you are involved in a crash, model honesty and competence. Obey the traffic laws always, not just when the police are off the road.

One More Way To Keep Your Teen Safe On The Road

GPS Technologies has a complete inventory of the latest GPS tracking devices you can use to keep tabs on your teen’s driving behaviors. The new GPS tracking devices can be mounted discreetly where teens cannot find them. Or they can be mounted on the dash so your teen knows you are always there for them. GPS tracking devices monitor harsh braking, adherence to the speed limit, swerves, and sudden acceleration. They can inform you when your teen crosses the boundaries of their geofences, and they can monitor the mechanical condition of your teen’s car.

GPS Technologies has the inventory and the experience to meet your needs. Call us with your questions at (847) 382-5107 or request a quote online today!

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This post was written by Malcolm Rosenfeld

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