By Sally Perkins
When your teen gets his or her driving license, you might think the job of keeping your teen safe is complete – but it’s just the beginning. In 2015, six teens between the ages of 16 and 19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. Teaching your teen vital skills as well as the law can save their life, and prevent accidents, injuries, and lawsuits.
Your teen might know how to drive well, but there’s always room for improvement. Studies have found that the biggest causes of car accidents for teens are driver errors. It’s therefore important to take the time to teach your teen how to drive safely and responsibly. Here are some important points.
Drive By Example
Teens watch everything you do, so if you want them to listen to you when you tell them not to text while driving or listen to music in the car that can distract them, make sure you’re not displaying the same bad habits yourself. Treat driving seriously when you’re behind the wheel, and your teen will be more likely to follow your lead when he/she climbs into the driver’s seat.
Open The Hood
Your teen should know the basics of looking after their car so that they avoid potential collisions or vehicle breakdowns. Show them how to check the oil and water, how to check tires for damage and replace them if required, and how to jumpstart a dead battery. Before they get into the car, they should always check that their lights are working. These are important skills that can prevent them from getting stuck on the side of the road or cause accidents.
Ban Cell Phones From The Car
Your teen needs a cell phone to stay in touch with you in the event of an emergency, but make sure they don’t use their phones while driving. Research shows that even though 97% of teens say texting while driving is dangerous, 43% do it anyway.
In the state of New York, being caught with a cell phone while driving can result in a traffic ticket, a fine of up to $100, fees and surcharges of up to $85, along with points added to one’s driver’s license. As for texting, if your teen is caught texting, it can result in a $150 fine and fees of up to $85, along with three driver violation points.
Remind your teens of this law and also the consequences of texting while driving, such as getting killed, causing harm to others, having to pay liabilities for accidents, and so on. It might help to show them videos or news stories of how dangerous using cell phones while driving can be.
Put Them In Different Situations
It’s important for your teen to get used to driving in a variety of different conditions – rainy weather, traffic, when they’re tired, and at night. Go with them during these times so that they can practice their driving while you give them pointers to help them in future.
When they’re driving alone in those stressful situations and you’re not there, you’ll feel much more confident about their safety because you’ve taught them the skills they need.
Use Technology For A Good Cause
These days there’s an app for everything – even good driving. Since so many teens use their smartphones regularly, why not use a good-driving app to teach your teen skills? This also keeps their phone occupied during trips.
DriveScribe uses GPS to monitor where your teen is driving and notifies them when they break a rule. Your teen earns a score after every trip, and when they earn enough points for good driving skills they can redeem them for fun things, like pizza or Amazon vouchers. This provides great incentives for your teens to drive responsibly, while making learning fun.
It’s nerve-wracking when your teen starts to drive on their own. You might worry that they’ll get into accidents – or worse. By teaching them about good driving and leading by example, you’ll keep your teen safe and on the right side of the law, establishing healthy driving habits they’ll continue as they get older.