Given how risky driving is, most parents worry about their children when driver education looms on the horizon. It’s never too early to start thinking about how to keep your children safe when they get behind the wheel of a car.
While you can’t control what your teenage driver will do when they head off on their own the first time, you can set them up for safety and lifelong good driving habits with the following three tips.
- Lead by example
Your children are never too young for you to start setting a positive driving example for them. Children will not just listen to the lessons you tell them but will also mirror the behavior you exhibit. Even if you tell them “do as I say, not as I do,” you are more likely to raise a safe driver if you follow the same safety rules you want your children to obey once they have their license.
Don’t ever text at the wheel. Keep your focus on the road. Always use your safety belt, and generally do your best to demonstrate responsible driving habits.
- Create a Parent-Teen driving agreement
When it’s time to start talking about driver education, you want to have a sit-down discussion with your new driver that involves the creation of a Parent-Teen driving agreement. While your teen is likely to roll their eyes at the requirement to sign a contract, consider it a form of protection for both of you.
By putting the rules you expect your young adult to follow in writing and creating potential consequences if they violate those rules, you can encourage them to follow the rules if for no other reason than fear of being grounded.
Limiting the number of occupants in the vehicle and including rules about everything from safety restraints to the use of mobile devices will help underscore how crucial it is to follow those safety rules.
- Remember that practice makes perfect
Riding with your teenager at the wheel is likely to raise your blood pressure and might temporarily strain your relationship. However, the biggest risk that teen drivers have is their own lack of experience.
The more hours you put in on the road with your new driver, the better prepared they will be when they actually go out on their own. Don’t just do the mandatory number of hours. You might want to consider doing double the required amount or even more. Have your teen drive everywhere that you go together.
Driving is not just a form of freedom for young adults. It is also a responsibility that parents need to prepare their teenagers to handle. With your help, your teen will hopefully avoid causing any kind of car crash that could change their future.