When your teen-aged children begin driving, it is sure to be a nerve-wracking experience. After all, driving is probably the most dangerous thing that you do on a daily basis. With so many accidents happening all the time, an abundance of caution is the best way to go. You should be teaching them to drive carefully from the start, but many parents don’t know what to say. If you fall into this category, here are 7 important points to cover.
1. Texting And Driving
Let’s be honest, teenagers spend a lot of time on the phone. For that reason, texting and driving is a major risk for them. One look at the statistics on distracted drivers is enough to make any parent nervous, that’s for sure. As such, you should emphasize the need to avoid any phone usage while behind the wheel. In fact, the best thing is to have them turn off their phones while driving.
2. Don’t Just Turn Them Loose
When your teen first begins driving, they should not be “turned loose” to drive around unsupervised. You will need to take the time to ride with your teen driver and correct any mistakes that you might see. Driving can be complex, and there are numerous pitfalls. There is no way that a young driver can realistically foresee all of them. The bottom line is that they need the benefit of your experience before they can be truly safe drivers. You should at least ride around with your teen for a few months before cutting the leash and allowing them to drive alone.
3. Passenger Limits
Sometimes, teen drivers have a tendency to roll around with a large group of friends in the car. While this isn’t unsafe by itself, it does make for a greater number of distractions. A car full of talkative teenagers is sure to distract the driver. Have you ever tried to follow multiple conversations at the same time? Imagine that, and now imagine that you are trying to do that while learning how to drive. Needless to say, that’s a recipe for trouble.
4. Seat Belts Are Not Optional
This is one of the most important safety points to remember: Seat belts must be utilized at all times. When you are teaching your teen to drive, you need to get them used to that fact from day one. When you establish good habits from the beginning, the chances of an accident can be greatly reduced.
They need to understand that seat belt use must never be neglected. If you have trouble, try this little trick: Confiscate their car keys and make them put on their seat belts before you return them. This has the effect of forcing them to get into the habit of buckling up before the car is started. If nothing else, you can use seat belt laws as a way to scare them into compliance.
5. Set A Good Example
When you are teaching your teen to drive, you will have to give them instructions and commands. If you want those instructions and commands to be respected, you have to set a good example. You do this by exercising safe driving habits yourself. If you are going to enforce certain driving rules on your teen, you need to follow those rules yourself, and you must follow those rules 100% of the time. Otherwise, your instructions will not be credible and will not carry any real weight.
6. Night Driving
Sooner or later, your child will have to drive at night. However, it is wise to limit night driving until they have some experience under their belt. Whenever visibility is lowered, there will be a significantly higher chance of an accident. For this reason, you should try to keep your teen from driving at night as much as possible. If you feel it necessary, you could simply allow them to drive to school in the morning before taking their keys after school.
7. Use Some Scare Tactics
It can be very difficult for teens to understand the consequences of their actions until it’s too late. However, when it comes to driving, you cannot simply allow them to make their mistakes and learn their lessons. Driving mistakes can be fatal, and they often are. As such, it is better to let them learn from the mistakes of others.
Don’t just tell them how bad it can be: Show them! Show them some pictures and video that depicts horrible crashes and the consequences thereof. In fact, you could even take them to a hospital to visit some vehicular accident victims. This might seem harsh, but it can potentially save your child’s life. Once they see just how bad it can get, they will probably drive with a bit more caution.
There are other ways to stress the importance of safe driving, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Considering the risks that are involved in driving, you should do whatever it takes to make them understand this simple point: Driving is always dangerous, no matter what.
Don’t be afraid to scare them a little bit, because that might be exactly what they need. Don’t be hesitant to give them clear instructions, because their lives may depend on those instructions. Of course, if you do find yourself or your family in an auto accident situation, you will need the services of a professional body shop. If you find yourself asking: “where is the best auto body shop near me?”, Elmer’s auto body shop offers the finest service in the New Jersey area. If you have any questions, we can be reached at (856) 218-0202.