It’s never easy to see your teenager drive away on their own for the first time. As parents, it’s in our job description to worry about our kids, and their growing older doesn’t decrease our worry. If you want to make sure your teenager is as safe as possible, here are a few things you need to remember:
- Teach them to wear their seatbelt. A significant number of collisions with younger drivers lead to fatalities or serious injuries because the driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Not only is it required by law that your teenager wears a seatbelt, it’s important for their safety. Teach them never to go anywhere unless they’re buckled in.
- Help them slow down. You need to show your teenagers that it’s never a good idea to get in a hurry or drive too fast. You may need to change your driving style in order to model good driving behavior. Encourage them to only drive as fast as they feel comfortable, even if it takes them longer to get places.
- Stop them texting and talking. Far too many car crashes have occurred because of drivers texting and talking on their phones while they drive. Always insist on hands-free phone calls in the car, and NEVER let the teens text. They need to be 100% focused on the road in order to reduce the risk of accidents.
- Never let them drive after drinking. It doesn’t matter if they’ve had “just one”! Their judgement is impaired when they drink, so it increases their risk of accidents. Make sure your teenagers know it’s better to take an Uber or cab home, even if it’s inconvenient or “not cool”.
- Prepare them for anything. Specifically, any sort of car breakdowns or car troubles. Help them to pack everything they could need: road flares, jumper cables, a bottle of water for the radiator, brake fluid, and so on. The more they are prepared, the better they’ll handle any emergency situations.
- Be careful of driving conditions. If they are driving at night, they need to slow down to account for the decreased visibility. The same for any foggy or rainy conditions. If driving in rain or snow, they also need to be careful for the decreased tire friction. If they drive too fast or too crazy, they could get into a serious accident.
It’s all about teaching your teenager to be safe on the road. If that means driving slower and taking longer to get to their destination, so be it. It’s better to be alive and late!