As a parent, letting go is not always easy. You watch your child take their first steps, let go of your hand on their first day of kindergarten and now they are a teenager, and you are handing them the car keys.
While you may feel confident that your child can drive responsibly, you may not be able to fall asleep until you know your child made it safely home at night. And these fears are legitimate, as teenagers do not always have the experienced judgment necessary to avoid a car crash. It is important for parents to discuss safe driving practices with their teenage drivers.
Topics to discuss with your teen driver
You will want to discuss the dangers of distracted driving with your teen. Teens often seem glued to their cell phone, and they may not understand how distracting it is to text and drive. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that texting while driving makes it 23 times more likely that the driver will be in an accident.
It is also important to discuss impaired driving with your teenage driver. Teenagers may be inclined to experiment with alcohol and drugs and may not know how these substances will affect them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that teens are the age group that has the greatest chance of losing their life in a drunk driving accident.
Finally, as a parent you will want to emphasize how important it is to follow the speed limit. Teenagers often have a sense of invincibility and may not fully understand why we have speed limits in place. However, according to the NHTSA, in 2019 alone speed played a role in almost 30% of fatal motor vehicle accidents in which a teenager was behind the wheel.
Set a good example
In addition to discussing safe driving habits with your teen, you can be a positive role model for your teen by following traffic rules and exercising good judgement behind the wheel. Your teens look up to you, even if they do not want to admit it, and by setting a good example you can show them that responsible driving is safe driving.