Letting your teen drive without accompanying them in the driver’s seat can be nerve-wracking. But teaching your children measures to be safe behind the wheel doesn’t have to stop after they receive their license.
Breaking down distractions, potential road hazards and the dangers of speeding can all help your kid become more comfortable, confident and cautious drivers.
Here are three tips to remind your child of as they begin driving more and more:
- Cell phone use has no place behind the wheel
It might seem obvious to tell your child not to text and drive. But there are several other ways cell phones can be distracting on the road. For instance, maybe your teen isn’t as familiar with local highways and routes as you and they rely on their Google Maps app on their phone. Although a navigation app can be a helpful tool, if your child is typing in an address or staring intently at a map while in motion, then it becomes a distraction. Plus, using hands-free technology to access phone functions is distractive too. In fact, a recent study reveals that drivers can remain mentally distracted for nearly 30 seconds after using voice-activated apps.
- Pull over if road conditions are unsafe
During different driver training sessions your child has been through, it’s possible that weather conditions were always favorable and that they never experienced car troubles. Facing hazardous weather conditions, having a tire go flat or coming across a road that’s too narrow or full of potholes are just a sampling of surprises drivers come across every day. Let your child know that they should find somewhere to safely pull over if their visibility deteriorates, they sense a vehicle malfunction or simply feel unsafe. Quickly identifying risks and acting accordingly may save them from a tragic accident.
- Speeding isn’t worth the risks
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 32% of fatal teenage car crashes in 2016 involved speeding. When drivers go a lot faster than the speed limit, controlling their vehicle becomes more challenging. Speeding also means it will take a driver a lot longer to come to a complete stop. And this can be disastrous if a driver doesn’t notice the car in front of them hits the brakes or the traffic light turns red.
Of course, first-hand practice is essential to becoming a better driver. However, continuing to give them direction as they gain more independence behind the wheel may influence your child to make safe choices both now and many years down the road. It might also prevent your child from accumulating traffic tickets that can lead to license suspension, fines and other penalties.