When a teenager receives their driver's license, it's an exciting time. But for parents, this can be a cause for concern, especially in light of the following teen driving statistics compiled by GEICO:
- In their first year of driving, 20% of 16-year-old drivers have an accident.
- In two of three teen passenger deaths, another teenager drives the vehicle.
- Each year, 74,000+ young people die or are injured because they fail to put their seatbelts on.
- More than 33% of teen fatal crashes are speed-related.
- Fatal crashes are three times more likely to happen at night.
So what can a parent do? Below are some tips for parents with teenage drivers.
Provide lots of supervision.
While driving schools in Parker, such as Western Slope Driving Institute, have expert driving instructors and customized training courses to help your teen drivers complete state-mandated traffic school training, parent participation in young drivers’ learning journey is vital to producing safe drivers.
Sitting in the passenger seat with your teen when they’re learning to drive takes time, patience, and knowledge – and the only way to ensure they put into practice what they learn.
During practice driving sessions, which, ideally, should be spread over a minimum of six months, remind them to:
- Always wear their seatbelts.
- Always keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
- Never take their mind off of driving.
- Never call or text while driving.
- Never drink and drive.
- Limit passengers and night driving.
- Slow down.
- Always remember that owning a driver’s license is both a privilege and a responsibility.
Start off with small trips.
Practice driving with your teenager in various situations, including driving at night. But don’t take her to the freeway for her first driving practice. Instead of boosting your teenager’s confidence, the freeway experience might end up traumatizing them. Start small by letting them drive home from the grocery store, but don’t restrict your practice sessions to parking lots.
Provide your teen with a safe car to practice in.
When getting your teenager a car to drive, keep safety, reliability, fuel economy, and price in mind. Overall, the car should possess a good safety rating, side-curtain airbags, and easy maneuverability.
Bankrate.com insists on the following must-haves:
- Locks and power windows
- At least six air bags
- Automatic transmission
- Rearview camera
Give gentle, constructive criticism.
Teaching your teen how to drive is a long, grueling process and can become very exasperating for both parties. But no matter how frustrating the situation becomes, keep your temper under control. If you want your teenager to effectively absorb what you’re teaching, remember there’s a huge difference between criticism and constructive criticism.
Criticizing constructively entails that you explain what your teen driver did wrong and then offer advice to help them improve. Remember, a berating tone won’t uplift your teen’s confidence.
Make sure your teen knows what to do in case of an accident.
Nobody plans on being in an accident, but everyone needs to know what to do if they're in one.
Every car should be equipped with an emergency kit. The kit should include a fire extinguisher, a first-aid kit, warning light or road flares, a flashlight, jumper cables, a whistle, as well as food, water, a blanket, and extra clothes and shoes. You never know when your teen might need any of these, so best to have them ready at all times.
In the unfortunate case they find themselves in an accident, advise them to do following:
- If someone’s injured, call for medical help.
- Immediately notify the police.
- Obtain the contact information of the people involved, also those of eyewitnesses.
Be a good role model.
Telling your teen what and what not to do while driving is useless if you don’t walk the talk. New teen drivers learn mostly by watching how adults behave behind the wheel, so practice what you preach.
Teaching teens how to drive is no easy feat, particularly for busy parents. But coming to your practice sessions with the right mindset and know-how helps your teenager develop the necessary confidence to safely drive their way around.
With former law enforcement professionals as instructors, Western Slope Driving Institute offers comprehensive driving lessons to keep new teenage drivers safe on the road. Call us today for any questions you may have, and we will be happy to assist you.