So it has finally happened. Your child has grown up and is ready to drive her very own car.. As parents we are very excited for them, but also very nervous. Uncertainty floods our minds. Will they be a safe driver? Will they speed? What about texting and driving? Unfortunately, all we can do is teach them the right way, remind them how to be a safe driver, and help them by using the following safe driving tips for teens.
Always obey the speed limit.
Speeding is known to be one of the major contributors to fatal teen accidents. I can remember being a kid and being told that I had to follow tons of rules. At the time, I didn’t always have a good understanding of why the rules are what they are. And many I resented.
When it comes to obeying the speed limit, teach your children that it is more than just a law. Make sure they understand that there are actual safety reasons for why the speed limit is what it is. And that speeding does have its consequences.
Leave the phone and other technology alone.
Being on a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of drunk driving – even when using it hands free. A teen’s inexperience behind the wheel already makes it more difficult for them to navigate everyday driving situations, so the last thing they need is even more distractions provided by their phone and other technology.
The best way to avoid this is to teach them to turn off their phone as soon as they get into the car. In addition there are several safe driving apps available from phone companies and app creators that restrict the use of texting and calling while driving. Drive First from Sprint and AT&T’s DriveMode are two prime examples.
Thankfully, many states are not only making it illegal to text and drive, they are also making it against the law to use a cell phone at all while driving. Stress the importance of not driving while distracted, model the appropriate behavior when you drive and consider using one of these safe driving apps to help keep your child safe behind the wheel.
Minimize the Distractions.
This goes right along with what I was saying about cell phones. But distracted driving is more than just talking or texting on the phone while driving. It is eating while driving, playing the music too loud or programming the GPS while driving. It is being too upset or too sleepy while driving. Watching something off to the side of the road, thinking about that test tomorrow…the list goes on and on. What’s odd is that most people tend to forget that they are distracted when they are messing with the radio or eating a hamburger. And that makes it all the more dangerous. The best thing to do is always keep your full attention on the road.
Turn on the headlights.
Your vehicle’s headlights are for more than helping you see in the dark. They also help other drivers (and pedestrians) see you. Today, the majority of newer cars have headlights that come on automatically, although you still have the option to turn them off. Explain to your teen driver that it is safer if they are left on, even during the day. Also, remind them that driving in the early morning, at dusk or in the rain or snow without the headlights on can be dangerous because while you can see, it is harder for others to see you.
Buckle the Seatbelt.
Although it is the law in pretty much all of the United States, too many people are still driving without using their seat belt. Make a point of explaining to your teen the importance of wearing a seatbelt, and stress that they ask anyone who rides with them to wear their seatbelts as well.
Stress the Importance of Regular Maintenance
All of the safe driving tips won’t make a bit of difference if your teen’s car is not properly maintained. Stress the importance of keeping one’s car in top mechanical shape in order to help prevent accidents and breakdowns. This not only includes the engine and transmission, but also the brakes, the tires, the lights, and even the windshield wipers. Make sure your teen takes their car into a certified mechanic on a regular basis. If your teen doesn’t have a regular mechanic, consider going to the dealership where the car was bought. Many dealerships, like Bob Fisher Chevrolet, have their own certified mechanics on site.
When it comes to our children, we strive to keep them safe in every way. Impress upon them the importance of driving safe and use these safe driving tips for teen drivers to help.