Young drivers have some of the highest crash rates globally, but parents can take the necessary steps to minimize these incidents. Generally speaking, this crash rate is high because teens lack the experience to get themselves out of dangerous situations while driving. They are also more likely to drive while distracted. If parents take the time to teach their teens how to drive before allowing them to drive on their own, many accidents can be prevented.
Start in the Parking Lot
Before permitting your teen to drive on the road, have them practice extensively in a parking lot. Make sure they can drive in a straight line both forwards and backwards before moving into more advanced techniques. Starting and stopping are also important skills to learn, as your teen should be able to accelerate and decelerate smoothly. The parking lot is also a great place to practice turning, as the teen should not cut corners or go too fast. Try to limit your parking lot sessions to about 20 minutes, then extend them as the teen becomes more comfortable.
Leaving the Parking Lot
Eventually, you can take your teen out of the parking lot and let them drive on the road. This is always a scary time for parents, but it is part of the driving process. To minimize the stress on you and your teen, determine the route that you will travel before you depart.
Stay away from busy parts of town. This allows your teen to slowly integrate into traffic. As they get more comfortable driving on the street in residential areas, you can begin taking them to business areas of town that have more traffic. Be careful that you do not overwhelm your teenager with this scenario and keep the route relatively short.
If you live in an area with extreme weather, you might want to prevent your teen from driving in these conditions at first. Snow and ice are particularly dangerous; even experienced drivers can struggle when the road is slippery. This is another scenario where you should start in the parking lot and then slowly allow them to drive on the road. Taking your teen to the parking lot to get used to how the car handles snow gives them a good base from which to learn. It can also encourage them to be extra careful during these conditions.
As with anything else involving your teen’s behavior, it is important that you set boundaries. Begin by having rules that determine where your teen is allowed to drive and how late they are allowed to stay out. You might also want to restrict the number of passengers that your teen is allowed to carry.
More passengers increase the chances that your teen will become distracted while driving. Have a set list of punishments to be implemented if your teen breaks any of these rules. That way, they know what the consequences will be if they choose to ignore the guidelines that you have created.
In addition to driving with too many passengers, many teens now use their cell phones while operating a motor vehicle. This is an escalating problem that causes numerous accidents every year. It does not matter if the driver is making a phone call, sending a text message or surfing the internet from behind a global VPN. Using a phone while driving is dangerous.
In fact, the FCC reported that over 400,000 vehicle-related injuries in 2010 were the direct result of driving while distracted. Also, 11 percent of all accidents involving drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 occurred, because one of the drivers was texting. By setting a good example when you drive, you can hopefully prevent your teen from exhibiting any of this dangerous behavior.