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Beyond driver’s ed: Essential tips for keeping your teen safe

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2024 | Automobile Accidents

Handing your teenager the keys for the first time can feel like a leap of faith. While driver’s education equips them with the basics of handling a vehicle, the real test comes with navigating the complexities of real-world driving. Teen drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents, and as a parent, you naturally worry about their safety. Here’s what you can do to go beyond the classroom and instill safe driving habits in your newly licensed teen.

Setting clear expectations and ground rules

Like many states, California has a Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program. These programs involve restrictions on nighttime driving, teen passengers and cell phone use. Familiarize yourself with your state’s GDL laws and implement them as a foundation for your teen’s driving privileges.

Talk openly with your teen about the dangers of distracted driving, speeding and driving under the influence. Establish clear consequences for violating these rules, such as curfews or limitations on car use.

Building safe driving habits

Don’t underestimate the value of supervised driving practice. Go beyond the minimum required hours for the learner’s permit. Let your teen practice driving in various conditions, like bad weather, city streets and highways.

Your teen is constantly observing your driving habits. Be a role model by buckling up every time, avoiding distractions like your phone and obeying traffic laws.

Technology and teen driving

Distracted driving, especially by cell phones, is a major risk factor for teen accidents. Enforce a strict no-phone policy while driving, including texting and hands-free calls. Consider apps or features that block phone use while the car is in motion.

Studies show having teen passengers significantly increases the risk of accidents for young drivers. Consider implementing limitations on the number of passengers your teen can have, especially in the initial stages of driving solo.

Communication and monitoring

Create a safe space for your teen to discuss any driving anxieties or mistakes they make. Focus on learning from these experiences rather than placing blame.

Some parents find GPS tracking and monitoring systems helpful. These can provide information on driving speed, location and potential harsh braking or acceleration, allowing you to identify areas where your teen might need improvement. However, use these tools as a conversation starter, not a means of micromanaging.

While handing over the keys can be nerve-wracking, by setting clear expectations, fostering safe driving habits and maintaining open communication, you can empower your teen to become a responsible driver. Remember, this is a learning process, and your continued guidance and support can make a world of difference in keeping your teen safe on the road.

Our attorneys are here to give you and all drivers the support you need after an accident. Contact us online to get started.