Having four children of my own, I understand the experience of handing the car keys a new driver. I can say little more than the excitement of the child is equal to the apprehension of the parent.
The facts about teenage driving are not good and are actually very scary.
- Studies have shown over half of the teenage drivers talk on the phone or text behind the wheel.
- Teenage drivers are three times more likely to be in a very serious crash than older drivers.
- Driver inattention and inexperience is the main cause of car wrecks with new drivers.
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Here are a couple of things I have found that are helpful to make the transition smoother:
• Talk about driver safety at every opportunity. If your teenage driver starts telling you they know what you say and can repeat what you’ve been telling them – you may be getting through. The simple nod of the head or the “I gotcha Dad” phrase is not as strong a response as repeating what you told them.
• Remind your child that driving is a privilege and that privilege can be lost.
• Parents are able to instill habits by repetition and most importantly by example. If you want your teenage driver to be a safe driver, you should practice safe driving.
• Establish a zero-tolerance policy for hands on cell phone use while anyone in your family is driving.
• Show positive encouragement of safe driving techniques. If your child makes a good choice while driving, comment on it and let them know you are paying attention. Positive reinforcement works.
• Always insist that your teenage driver not only buckles up but he or she ensures everyone else in the vehicle is also buckled up.
• Make sure your young driver is aware of the consequences of a speeding ticket and talk to them about keeping their speed under the limit.
During the early driving years, you can help your teens create habits that will help keep them safe while driving.