Driving grants teenagers the freedom to go anywhere they want, any time they want. However, their more experienced parents and legal guardians know that that freedom comes with a high price tag. But the risks that teenagers face while driving should not keep teenagers from being able to enjoy driving. With the right guidance, teenagers can appreciate driving without costing someone their life — be it someone else’s or their own.
Don’t Speed or Drive Recklessly
According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, teens are more likely than older drivers to speed. This tendency can be attributed to a lack of driving skills, inexperience, and peer pressure. Emphasize the importance of obeying the speed limit at all times to your teen and discuss ways to say no to peer pressure.
Don’t Text and Drive
Like most teenagers, yours probably thinks of their smartphone as their lifeline. However, your teenager needs to be able to cut the cord while they are on the road. Your teen risks higher insurance premiums, fines, and jail time if they are found to be guilty of texting while driving. They’ll also need a car accident lawyer to defend their case before they’re even sentenced.
You can help your teenager avoid this by teaching them to either silence their phones or put them out of reach so that they’re not tempted to look at it while they’re in the car.
Don’t Drink and Drive
While the legal drinking age in the United States is 21, the repercussions are not enough to discourage up to 58% of American teenagers from drinking before the age of 18. Talk to your teenagers about the dangers of underage drinking without alienating them — you want them to be able to call you for a ride if they do make poor choices about underage drinking.
Don’t Forget to Maintain Your Vehicle
Besides speeding and reckless driving, a lack of knowledge and experience can also lead to improper vehicle maintenance. Brake failures, underinflated tires, headlight outages, and other improperly maintained car parts have been known to cause severe accidents. Get your teen into the habit of routine vehicle maintenance while they’re still young. Bring them along for check-ups regardless of who is paying. Show them how to recognize when their brakes are failing. Teach them how to install a spare tire just in case theirs do pop when they’re in the middle of a busy intersection.
Becoming eligible to drive is an exciting milestone for teenagers and a moment of dread for many parents. But with these tips, as well as the technical know-how of the laws of the road, you and your teen can successfully bridge the gap between both, and celebrate this important moment in their life together.
By Emma Sturgis