Driving Tips

Tips for Parents

This section of TeenDriving.com is especially for the parents or guardian of the new driver. You guys need tips, too! Here we give you a few pointers on teaching your kid(s) to drive and how to be a good example, how to draw up a “teen driving contract”, tracking your kid’s progress, and what safety products they may need to keep in the car.

 


Teaching Teens to Drive

Teenagers dream about getting their driver’s license. Having that official piece of identification tucked in their wallet opens up a new world of choices, responsibilities, and freedom. However, car accidents are the leading cause of death for 15-20 year olds, accounting for forty percent of all teen deaths. Teaching your teen to be a safe, careful driver can make the difference in their survival behind the wheel.

What can you, as a parent, do to help them learn as they drive themselves around, go to parties, take road trips with their friends, and pick up their siblings? It’s an effort that takes time, knowledge, and patience. The tips below can help.

Set the example you want your teens to follow.. Never use your cell phone while driving - whether it’s a text or just a quick call. It only takes a second of distraction to result in an accident.

Teen Driving Contract

When teens negotiate their own set of car keys, parents often worry that they’ve said goodbye to all control.  It’s true that teens experience a new sense of freedom when they get their license, but they don’t always understand the responsibilities that come with the privilege. Teens have an average of three accidents between the ages 16 and 20. Parents can help instill some responsibilities by drawing up a “driving contract” before turning over the keys that clearly states the family rules as well as the consequences for breaking them. A contract should address safety, good driving skills, and particular situations in the following areas.  The contract should cover the following areas:

The Car

  • Which car(s) your teen is allowed to drive. The contract should specify clearly. The car you choose for your teen to drive should have a driver’s side airbag, a good safety rating, and be easy to maneuver.
  • Good car care: putting gas in when needed, oil changes, tire pressure, and regular maintenance. Also, keeping the car free of clutter and trash.
  • Insurance decisions. If your teen will be paying for their own insurance, the contract is a great place to have it stated. Some parents find that having their teen pay for insurance provides some incentive for avoiding reckless  on-road behavior that often results in accidents.

Safety

  • Always obey the speed limit and traffic laws, and always wear seat belts. They should make sure any passengers are buckled up as well.
  • Let you know where they are coming and going.
  • Never use cell phones while driving. This is incredibly important to stress to them.
  • Never engage in drinking or drug use. Always be vigilant in watching for signs of alcohol or drug use by your kids. Driving while impaired is one of the leading causes of death in car accidents. The contract should state that teens are not allowed to drink and drive, have alcohol in the car, or even be a passenger in a car with a driver who has been drinking or using drugs. Make sure that they know they can always call you to come get them if they get stranded at a gathering.
  • Not drive with friends in the car for a while. We suggest that teens not be allowed to drive with friends or even younger siblings in the car for the first six to twelve months of having their license, unless an adult is also in the car. Friends or siblings can be huge distractions.
  • Have a curfew. Night driving is especially difficult for a new driver, and more accidents happen in the 9pm-2am time frame than during the daylight hours. Set realistic curfews, but also tell teens that if they are running late, it’s always better to drive safely than speed to make up the minutes.
Consider giving rewards when your teen honors this contract, such as paying for a week's worth of gas, a slightly extended curfew, or a free car wash. This will instill good driving habits and car maintenance, as well as show your teen that you know appreciate a good job.

Tracking Progress

Teaching your Teen how to drive is just the first step in their journey to becoming a safe driver.  Follow these tips to help them along the way.

Work with your teen on do-it-yourself maintenance such as oil changes or checking fluid levels. This will give them the knowledge when they're are on their own.

Safety Products

The last thing you want for your kid(s) is for them to be stranded somewhere with a dead phone and a flat tire without the tools to get home.  Make sure they have adequate safety products in their car at all times.

To make sure your teen is prepared for an emergency, remember to replace what they use. If the car's first aid kit has run out of bandages or the flashlight batteries are dying, replace them. Spare tires or donut tires should be given back by the mechanic or replaced.