With the ability to start taking steps toward earning their ever-so-coveted driver’s license, turning 15 ½ is an incredibly exciting time in a teen’s life. Oftentimes, however, mirroring a teen’s excitement is their parent’s anxiety. According to the DMV, teenage drivers account for more car accidents than any other age group, so it’s extremely important to talk to your teen and prepare them to be a safe driver before they get behind the wheel.
Show your teen what good driving habits look like by practicing them yourself, and share with them the following helpful tips:
1. Put away your cell phone.
Depending on the state you live in, just holding your cell phone while driving could warrant a ticket. The seconds it takes to look down at your phone can result in a serious crash. Hold off on using your phone until you’ve reached your destination - the text or call can wait.
2. Be aware of your surroundings, even when you’re stopped.
It’s easy to get tempted at a red light to pull out your phone or get lost in your thoughts, but continue to be alert even when your vehicle isn’t in motion. Pay attention to your surroundings, as drivers may be trying to cut in front of you, or pedestrians may be in your path.
3. Don’t speed.
As speeding has been a contributing factor in about 31% of fatal car crashes, you always want to be aware of how fast you’re driving. Maintaining the speed limit will help keep you and your passengers safe, so don’t speed, even if the vehicles around you are doing so.
4. Wear your seatbelt.
This may be the very first rule about driving that people learn, so wearing your seatbelt in the car may seem obvious. Still however, 53% of teens killed in passenger vehicles were not wearing their seatbelt at the time of the crash, so it is still important to stress to new drivers the significance of this rule.
5. Get defensive driving training.
Teens can become safer drivers as they become more educated drivers. Depending on your age and the state you live in, completing a driver’s ed course may be a requirement for earning a provisional license. Although it might not be a requirement in your state, signing your teen up for a driver’s ed course might still be an option you want to explore.
Some companies like My Improv give you the option of taking a defensive driving course online, and with classes taught by improv actors, learning to be a safer driver doesn’t get more entertaining. Online courses also allow new drivers to study at their own pace and give them the ability to access learning material from any place where they have access to the internet. You can also contact your insurance company to see if they offer lower rates to drivers who have completed a driver’s ed course.
The freedom that comes with getting a driver’s license is exciting for new drivers, but the excitement should be coupled with a sense of responsibility. Help your teen become equipped with the knowledge that will make them a responsible driver, and be sure to model good driving habits for them as well.