By Mollie Jones (guest author)
For parents, handing over the keys to the family car isn’t easy. But there are steps you can take to help your teen become a smart driver – even before they get behind the wheel.
- Start driving education before your teenage driver gets behind the wheel
Before your teen even starts driving, you can demonstrate smart driving habits. Every time you’re driving, follow safe driving practices – wear your seat belt, stick to the speed limit, and don’t use your cell phone or engage in other distracted driving behaviors. Also, talk to your teen about driving hazards before you begin to teach driving practices. Have discussions about driver safety, including dangerous times to be on the road – at night – and distracted driving behaviors to avoid, like texting while driving.
- Supplement your teen’s first driving lessons
Once your teen has a learner’s permit, many states require a minimum number of driving hours while under the supervision of an adult. Check with your state’s department of motor vehicles for requirements in your state. During these supervised driving sessions, take the time to review all the car’s controls with your teen, like turn signals, wiper blades and headlights. When you’re ready to teach driving, choose a deserted area such as a large parking lot. As your teen gets used to operating the vehicle, slowly introduce low-traffic, familiar streets around your neighborhood. Continue to review what they’ve learned in driver’s education, like paying attention to their surroundings.
- Create a driving contract
Another way to reinforce teenage driver safety is to create a driving contract. Sit down with your teen and outline responsibilities, privileges and consequences related to using the car. Once you and your teen agree on the terms, keep the driving contract in a visible place like on the refrigerator.
Effective teenage driving safety starts with setting a positive example behind the wheel. Don’t forget to keep your son or daughter protected on the road with car insurance for teenagers. Compare quotes from trusted insurance companies that offer multiple discounts for more affordable coverage, like discounts for completing a driving safety course.