4 Tips for Helping Your Teen Driver
Ask any parent of a teenager about driving, and you will get a mix of responses. We are thrilled to turn over school commutes and after-practice pickups. We appreciate not having to provide transportation for a teen’s budding social life. Still, underneath, all of us are at least a little scared. Having a new driver in the house brings with it worry and fear. As a mom of three and a lawyer who daily works with
automobile accident injuries, I appreciated some tips that helped our family feel more comfortable with new drivers.
- Before you hand over the keys, sit down with your teen to talk about driver’s insurance. Don’t focus on the monthly increase in your insurance bill. Insurance companies know that teen drivers are more likely to have claims and will charge accordingly. Instead, spend the time focusing on the type of insurance, the coverage, and the deductible. Discuss with your teen your expectations for their financial responsibility in case of accidents.
- Review the traffic laws with your child. Most teens know Kentucky law prohibits any cellphone use in drivers under age 18. They probably have not thought about where that cell phone goes when they are driving. Discuss keeping the phone out of reach, placing the ringer on silent, and waiting until you can safely pull over and stop to use the phone. Parents lead by example, and this is a good reminder for us to follow these rules as well.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that young drivers’ top contributing risk factor is inexperience. Other top factors included the number of other teenagers in the vehicle and driving after dark. Setting limits on the number of people in the car and establishing a driving curfew can make for safer driving until they gain experience.
- Suppose you still feel apprehensive about letting them drive off into the world. In that case, you can find additional driving courses designed for new drivers. Alive at 25 (aliveat25.us) is one such program developed by the National Safety Council. It is a four-hour refresher course on driver awareness offered in Kentucky.
Giving your teen the tools they need to become a responsible driver is the key to future driving success. Working together to create boundaries creates the foundation for lifelong safe driving practices. You’ve done the hard part, now sit back and let them enjoy the ride.