If you’re a parent of a teen, it’s a joyous and exciting when he or she finally gets his driver’s license. Not only will he or she have freedom and independence, you are no longer obligated to drive him or her to countless extra curricular activities.
While there are numerous benefits to your teen driver getting a license, there are some important safety tips you should discuss with your teen to ensure that he or she is as safe as can be on the road:
Practice Makes Perfect
New drivers are some of the most inexperienced drivers on the road and while it’s unfair to say that all teens are reckless drivers, they are the most likely to take a risk or two. Before you allow your teen to venture out on his or her own, make sure that he or she knows how to navigate all roads from rural to interstate. It’s also a good idea to show him or her how to drive during inclement weather, such as rain, snow, or ice. Hit up an empty parking lot and practice driving safely.
Get To Know Your Car
If your teen driver knows more about cars, he or she is more likely to be safer on the road. Whether your teen has saved up money for his or her own car or is borrowing yours, basic skills such as changing a flat or checking the oil can make your teen more responsible and independent.
Ditch All Distractions
From cell phones to passengers, anything can be a potential distraction and distractions are one of the highest contributing factors in car accidents involving teen drivers. Although there are a number of states that prohibit texting and driving, it’s hard to patrol general distractions. Discuss distractions with your teen and explain how dangerous it can be to take focus off the road. Remember, multitasking isn’t really a thing. Many young drivers find success in downloading a text blocking app to avoid temptation behind the wheel of the car. Set rules about passengers and other distractions. Some parents have found success in having their teen driver sign a pledge.
Discuss What to Do After an Accident
No parent wants to get the phone call that his or her teen was in an accident, but it might happen and it’s important that your teen knows what to do in the event of a car accident. Whether it’s a fender bender or something more serious, these are the steps your teen should take:
- Stay Calm: Regardless of your experience as a driver, an accident can be scary. Remind your teen to remain calm and avoid admitting to fault if he or she thinks it may be his or her fault. The other driver may try to guilt the young driver into taking responsibility (even if it wasn’t his or her fault).
- Pull Over Safely: If he or she is able, your teen should pull over to the side of the road or out of the flow of traffic to avoid further danger. Hazards should be turned on and if he or she gets out of the car, it must be done with extreme precaution.
- Call 9-1-1: Even the accident isn’t serious, it’s a good idea to call the authorities. In some cases, they will not arrive to the scene of the accident unless it is serious, but will tell all parties involved how to proceed. If someone appears to be injured or in danger, a call to 9-1-1 should be made immediately.
- Collecting Information: Although you will probably arrive on the scene shortly, to be with your teen, it’s important that he or she knows to document the details of the crash as quickly and accurately as possible; this information is crucial to seeking compensation or filing an insurance claim. A video can be made or pictures can be taken to document the damage and to record the account. Contact information should be exchanged and information should be collected by any witness.