Safe Driving Tips For Parents
- Set a good example. When you are driving with your teen, point out defensive driving behaviors and safety tips. Drive the way you would like your teen to drive.
- Provide as much adult-supervised driving time as possible - even after the teen gets his or her permanent license.
- Expose teens to different driving conditions. Supervise their driving on rural roads, interstates, and city streets; in various weather conditions; during different times of day; etc.
- Prohibit cell phone use while driving. Insist that your teen driver pull off the road to a safe place - preferably a parking lot - to make a call.
- Restrict the number of passengers in the car. More passengers mean more distractions, and distractions increase the chance of a crash.
- Prohibit or limit unsupervised late-night driving. Know the curfew law and enforce it.
- Require that teen drivers and passengers wear safety belts at all times (and wear yours whenever you are in a car).
- Choose a safe, reliable vehicle for your teen driver. Remember, mid- to full-size sedans and station wagons with small engines and airbags are safest for teen drivers.
- Keep teens off the road when they are tired. Teens need more sleep than young children and adults, so limit their driving during normal sleeping hours. If teens must drive during this time, remind them to pull over to a safe place to rest if they become drowsy.
- Know where teens are going. Find out where they are driving to and what route they will take to get there. Make sure they have directions and a map.
- Emphasize that speed kills. Remind teen drivers that speed is the number-one cause of fatal crashes involving teens. Tell them to obey the speed limit at all times, and allow enough time to get to their destination.
- Remind teens not to drive when stressed or emotional. Stressed drivers are more likely to take risks (such as speeding or racing), and high emotions keep drivers from focusing on the road. Tell teens to wait until they are calm before getting behind the wheel.
- Prohibit drinking and driving. Communicate a zero-tolerance policy on drinking and driving.
- Talk to your teen frequently about safe driving. Direct, personal conversations about safety and the consequences of risky driving behavior will help teens overcome the "it won't happen to me" mindset. Ask teens how they would feel if they were involved in a serious car accident in which they, their passengers, or innocent people got hurt or killed. Role-play with them what they would say or do if that happened.