It is a well-known fact that teens have the highest accident rate compared to other age groups. This is due to several factors such as speeding, texting, and driving, a distraction caused by friends, driving under the influence and failing to wear a seatbelt. While these are all issues briefly covered in teen driving school, they aren’t delved into as much as they should be.
Drivers education courses are primarily meant to cover the rules of the road, road signs, and basic defensive driving techniques. But what about driving in harsh weather conditions and dealing with distractions or other hazardous drivers?
While not all parents are experts in driving training or have experience as a driving instructor, they can have a huge impact on their teen’s driving abilities by taking the lessons they provide a step further.
Furthermore, parents should rely on the power of technology to monitor their teens driving habits and combat distractive phone use.
Enroll them in Teen Driving School
While requirements to enroll in teen drivers’ education vary state by state, having your teen complete a course will prepare him or her to pass the appropriate tests needed to obtain a learner’s permit or driver’s license.
The teen driving school will teach your teen important rules and regulations outlined in your state’s driver’s manual, how to identify road signs and safe and defensive driving techniques.
Your teen can master basic driving skills and learn useful tips for freeway driving and navigating congested streets.
Once you have enrolled your teen in a driving course to master the basics, you can provide them with the necessary hours of hands-on experience to fully apply these skills to real-world traffic.
Practice Makes Perfect
Driver education courses generally provide six to eight hours of training behind the wheel. This is not a lot of time for teens to fully develop good driving skills that will transition well onto public roads.
This is why it is important to not solely rely on driver’s ed to teach your teen the valuable skills needed to independently take on the road. If your teen has his or her learners permit, make sure to give your teen extra practice outside of driving school.
While it is tempting to practice within your neighborhood, get in the habit of handing your teen the keys when running errands around town. He or she should get familiar with a variety of roads.
You should teach your teen how to keep a safe following distance from other cars and how to navigate around pedestrians, runners, bikers, and animals.
Ease your teen into challenging maneuvers like merging into traffic and making a left at a green light while yielding to oncoming traffic.
Furthermore, allow your teen to build a variety of driving skills by introducing them to various driving scenarios like driving in the rain, at night, in a traffic jam and on the freeway.
You don’t want your teen to be alone the first time he or she experiences unexpected conditions while driving.
Set a Good Example
As a parent, it is your responsibility to always lead by example. If you plan on verbally teaching your teen safe driving practices and dangerous habits to avoid, you must practice what you preach.
Your teen will most likely pick up on your driving habits years before he or she is old enough to obtain a driver’s license.
When it came time to teach my own sister about the dangers of texting while driving and breaking tracking laws, I realized I sounded like a hypocrite.
How could she take me seriously when I was guilty of checking my phone behind the wheel and making illegal U-turns?
I decided to make a conscious effort to change my driving behavior and ignore the tendency to speed or answer my phone while driving.
Teens can typically pick up on hypocrisy pretty well and tend to rebel if you aren’t honest with them. If you can do it well then why can’t they?
If you’ve demonstrated bad driving habits in the past, be open about your effort to change your behavior and explain the reasons why.
Avoid speeding, cutting other drivers off, driving after drinking, using your phone and getting into road rage incidents.
Teach Your Teen Routine Car Maintenance
Being a good driver is more than practicing safe habits and being courteous to those sharing the road. It involves routine car maintenance and making sure that your car has exactly what it needs so that it can function properly.
A car is only as safe as you keep it and knowing how to perform upkeep on a car can prevent future accidents and save you money on repairs.
Teaching auto care to your teen is very important as teens tend to neglect issues with their cars. Make sure your teen knows how to check the air pressure in tires, oil and transmission fluid and windshield-wiper fluid.
Furthermore, he or she should know how to change a tire and jump a car battery properly.
Unexpected incidents do occur which is why it is important that your teen is fully equipped with the knowledge to handle these situations effectively.
In this day and age, car manufacturers are implementing the most advanced technological features to keep drivers and passengers safe and prevent tragedies.
Many cars, like Lexus and Ford, are equipped with devices that allow parents to set limits on their teen’s speed and driving time.
Parents can also track their teens’ whereabouts and restrict them from exceeding certain distances or leaving designated areas.
Furthermore, there are devices that parents can install into their cars that monitor their teen’s driving habits.
Detailed reports can be sent through apps, which notify parents of bad driving behaviors, like excessive braking and speeding.
Teens who know they are being monitored tend to practice safer driving habits and abide by traffic laws.
Parents can also eliminate or reduce distracted driving by downloading apps that allow them to suspend text messaging and calls while their teens are driving.
These apps typically send automated responses to those attempting to contact a driver who is focused on the road. I use Iphone’s do not disturb while driving features and I find it life-saving.