Having a teenager can bring a lot of stress and worries for parents. Most want to help their teens embrace their growing independence responsibly, but it can be difficult to watch them make mistakes as they navigate adolescence. This can certainly be true when it comes to driving.
Teens often want the independence that comes with being able to get in a car and go where they want. However, because they are new to driving, teenage drivers can and do make mistakes. To help them avoid mistakes and minimize the fallout of any they do make, parents can consider the following tips:
Help them understand the laws
Traffic laws are in place for good reason: They keep drivers and others on the road safer. Everything from speed limits and stop signs to seatbelt requirements and distracted driving laws acts as a means of preventing collisions and minimizing damage should one occur.
As such, parents should help a teen driver study the laws, whether that means quizzing them on the Virginia Driver’s Manual or taking them driving to practice.
Set a good example
Kids are typically watching parents much more closely than we might think, even in the car. To help your teen be a good driver, set a good example for them.
Ways to do this include:
- Refraining from all phone use while driving
- Always buckling up
- Staying calm and patient
- Keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road
- Obeying traffic laws
Set, enforce and adjust boundaries
When teens are learning to drive, setting boundaries is important. For instance, parents might set a curfew and limit the number of people a new driver can have in the car. They might also set up apps on a teen’s phone that sends driver data back to the parent.
Enforcing the boundaries that you set can help a teen develop positive driving habits. And as he or she learns and improves as a driver, parents can adjust the boundaries accordingly.
These tips can help a teen become a safe driver and give parents some peace of mind in knowing their son or daughter will be responsible. And while we cannot control the decisions of other drivers on the road who may not make safe choices, knowing that a young driver is lawful, careful and attentive while driving can go a long way in preventing serious accidents and traffic infractions.