Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
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Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
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As most of you know, I have have watched 3 of my own babies grow up and get behind the wheel!
Driving is a very serious responsibility and we have spoken to all 3 of our young drivers extensively about road safety and vehicle maintenance. All of the young drivers in our household know that driving is a privilege and not a right.
Your safe journey begins here…
1. Distracted Driving
Our kids know that texting, checking messages and putting on new music while driving is NOT allowed. This is a big one in our family with a zero tolerance policy. While you may want your teen to have a cell phone for safety it’s a good idea to ensure they understand the rules about cell phone use in the car. A great rule is that they must keep their cell phone in the console while the car is moving.
2. Vehicle Maintenance
If your child is driving, it’s important that they learn and understand proper vehicle maintenance. Did you know that failure to maintain the correct air pressure in your tires can result in poor gas mileage, reduce tire life, affect vehicle handling, and cause vehicle overloading?
A big part of driving a vehicle is making sure it’s road ready including checking things like tire pressure and oil. You can actually head to Discount Tire for a totally FREE Tire Inspection which is a great way to get your new drivers comfortable with maintenance.
Let then know how to check their own tires quickly and easily at home (you can find an easy video to share here).
A few things your teen should know:
- How to check Tire Air Pressure
- How to properly & safely gas up
- What each light on the dash means
- How to check their oil
This will not only show them proper maintenance but reinforces the responsibility that comes along with driving.
3. Vehicle Safety
You’ll want to ensure that your child is driving a safe vehicle. It does not have to be brand new, sleek or even the least bit cool BUT it should be a safe and reliable car that you can both feel good about.
I touch on this topic again because driving is such a huge responsibility in so many different ways! In addition to vehicle maintenance above, you might like to consider letting your teen take at least some financial responsibility for driving. We expect our drivers to pay for gas, oil changes and/or car washes. Kids who have to pay for their own vehicles and/or maintenance will respect the privilege of driving. A quick reminder that correct tire pressure can help with fuel efficiency… stretching those dollars from a part time job.
5. Friends on the road
It is understandable that if your kid is the one with wheels, their friends will want to grab a ride. If your child is a new driver, consider a friends-free probation period (each of our kids was required to drive 3 months with a perfect record before ANY friends were allowed in the car). Again, we had a serious discussion about behavior, and the danger of being distracted. You may consider a rule limiting the number of friends in the car at a time… or that they may only have friends in the car with permission.
6. Defensive Driving
Teach your kids to be defensive drivers. I often remind them that I am not just worried about them on the road, I am worried about the car next to them with the texting driver. Teens can often be in their own little world and may not always be alert to their surroundings. Model and teach defensive driving techniques, teach them to be aware and anticipate what is coming on the road ahead of them. Discuss signs that other drivers may be distracted.
Teaching them the basics and modeling expectations for the car and driving is all that you can do to prepare them and then put your trust in your teen to do the right thing. If you can’t trust them, then they may just not be ready.
Have honest and straightforward conversations with your child about safety and responsibility. Do not lecture or preach but explain the serious and frightening implications of bad driving habits. Also, be honest about your own mistakes. Of course, also serve as a good role model of safe and responsible driving.
Teach them never to drive when they don’t feel comfortable. Inclement weather, bad traffic or finding that they are in an unfamiliar area are all great reasons to STAY PUT! In addition, if they are extremely tired or have drank even one drop of alcohol, they should know never to get behind the wheel of a car.
Hopefully some of these tips help keep your young drivers safe on the road!