How to Encourage Safe Driving Practices in Your Teen

Posted in July 26th, 2013
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uat-guestpostNew drivers are the most at risk of getting into accidents that could cause serious injury or even death. Teenagers, especially, are at high risk – not only because they are new drivers, but also because they are impulsive and still learning responsible behaviors.

When your teenager starts driving, you may feel sick with worry every time he leaves the house in the car. Though you can’t control what happens once your teen is behind the wheel, there are plenty of things you can do to encourage safe driving practices in your teen. Here are a few ideas:

Model Safe Driving

You may think that your teen isn’t paying any attention to you at all, but in reality, you are your teen’s biggest influence. Your teenager will be watching and absorbing everything that you do. If you’re a poor driver, your teenager will learn poor driving habits by watching you. That includes speeding, cutting off other drivers and driving aggressively, among other bad habits. Model good habits for your teen, and they will intuitively learn good driving practices.

Talk about It

Have a frank conversation with your teen about what constitutes safe driving. Go beyond talking about the importance of following the speed limit and wearing a seat belt. Talk about other dangers such as texting while driving or getting in the car with a friend who is not in a good state to drive. Be honest and direct to convey your expectations and to give your teen good skills for safe driving.

Provide Lots of Practice

Practice makes perfect. Beginning drivers have more accidents because they are less confident and don’t have as much experience to help them respond appropriately. You can help your teen to develop this confidence and this know-how by giving them more practice driving with you. Take a few hours out of each weekend to drive in different conditions together, and give your teen opportunities to drive when you are going somewhere together as a family.

Set Limits

Create a few rules for the road for your teenager to help ensure safe conditions. For example, you might institute a curfew and not allow your teen to drive after a certain time of night. You may limit the number of other passengers who are allowed in the car while your teen is driving. You may ban texting or talking on the phone while driving. Be clear about your limits and lay them down before you allow your teen to start driving.

Create Rewards and Punishments

Give your teen incentives for safe driving by creating a system of rewards and punishments. Each month, you may reward your teen with more time with the car if they haven’t had any traffic tickets or broken any of your driving limits. Or you may come up with other rewards that will be more motivating to your teen. Punishments can include loss of driving time and other privileges.

You can’t ever keep your teen totally safe on the road, but you can help them to develop better habits behind the wheel. Use these tips to help your teen learn safe driving practices, and you’ll feel more assured when your teen heads out on the road.

About the Author:

Sara Morrin is a writer of automobile and financial topics. She is a co-founder of a free-to-use calculator app, where people can calculate a monthly car payment with quick and dynamic updating functions.

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