Help Your Teen Become a Safe Driver
As a parent, you’re responsible for helping your teen get the guidance and training they need when they have their learners permit.
In addition to behind-the-wheel training with a certified driving instructor, most states require novice drivers to log a set amount of driving practice hours with a parent or guardian. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association:
- 46 states and Washington, D.C. require at least some supervised driving.
- 4 states do not require any supervised driving if the teen takes drivers ed.
- 4 states do not require any supervised driving.
Even if you live in a state where it is not required, you and your teen should practice together before they apply for their drivers license. The more exposure they have to being on the road, the safer driver they will be.
Tips for Effective Driving Lessons
When teaching your teen how to drive, there are things you can do to ensure that lessons are as effective as possible. Follow these tips:
- Start out slowly: Ease into your lessons by practicing in empty parking lots and on side streets when there is little traffic. As your teen grows more comfortable, gradually progress to driving with more cars around and on the freeway.
- Be patient: Naturally mistakes are going to be made. Stay as calm as possible, and avoid raising your voice. If your teen makes a driving error, have them pull over so you can explain what went wrong.
- Keep an eye out for potential hazards at all times: Your teen may be nervous and only focusing on what is directly ahead of them.
- Be a good role model: When you’re the one behind the wheel, set a good example for your teen. Follow the rules, and always be on your best driving behavior. If your teen sees you cutting off other drivers and speeding through yellow lights, they will think it’s okay if they do the same.
Benefits of Supervised Driving
It’s important for your teen to get a solid foundation with a driving training course, but the practical lessons are what really equip them with the skills they need to be a safe driver. The hands-on instruction goes a long way in instilling safe driving habits that will last a lifetime.
After They’re Licensed
Even after your teen has received their driver’s license, you should have rules in place when it comes to driving. It’s a good idea to download I Drive Safely’s Parent-Teen Driving Agreement and have a discussion with your teen about both of your driving expectations and teenage driving safety. Some of the topics you should talk about include:
- Driving curfew
- Having passengers in the car
- Financial responsibility
Having an open, honest conversation will keep your teen safer in the long run. After all, your teen’s safety is the most important thing.