Getting a driver’s license is an exciting time for teens, but it can be stressful for parents. Teen drivers who are 16 have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age, and 20% of teens have an accident in their first year of driving.
Like other drivers, teens have some good and bad habits. The good—they are twice as likely to wear seat belts as their parents. The bad—56% of teens use their phones while driving.
Helping create good driving habits involves talking to your teen and being a good example yourself. Some areas to discuss include:
- Phone usage. Avoid talking on the phone. If necessary, use a hands-free device. Absolutely NO texting, social media, or other Internet usage.
- Seat belts. Always wear them and insist your passengers do too.
- Speeding. Obey the speed limit—going over the limit doesn’t add up to getting there much faster.
- Passenger distractions. The more people in the car, the more likely you are to be distracted.
- Plan your playlist. Turn on your playlist before you start driving, and don’t keep changing the song. If you’re listening to the radio, avoid changing the channel. At highway speeds, your car will travel more than the length of a football field in the time it takes to look down at a radio for just a few seconds.
- Yellow means caution. Don’t speed up to chase a yellow light. Likewise, be careful when the light turns green and watch for drivers who may be running a red.
- Say something. If you’re a passenger and feel unsafe, speak up!
When both parents and children pledge to drive safely and hold each other accountable, it is most effective. Agree on rules they—and you—will follow behind the wheel.