As a teenager, learning how to drive is a victorious milestone toward freedom and independence. As a parent, handing off the keys to a teen can be a nerve-wracking experience. Being prepared can help ease the process.
In 2020 about 2,276 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers (15-18 years old) and 52% of teen drivers who died were unbuckled. Our goal is to reduce this statistic by educating parents and teens to create confident drivers.
Driving comes with risks. Teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, mainly because of their immaturity, lack of skills, and lack of experience. Risks such as, speeding and getting distracted tend to be significantly higher when they drive with their friends.
Laws and restrictions vary from state to state. Knowing the laws of your state can help parents prepare the ground rules around driving. To find out New Jersey laws click here.
No matter the state, every teen driver should learn the importance of a curfew or reduced night driving, set boundaries around when to drive with passengers, prohibit driving while using a phone or any device that can cause distractions, lastly drill in the importance of wearing a seat belt at all times.
Be sure to talk to your teen about the risk and dangers that come with drug and alcohol use. In every state in the US, it is illegal to drink under the age of 21, furthermore, the risk of death is significantly higher while driving under the influence.
Your teen might not show it, but they look up to you, the parent as a role model while driving. It is vital that parents set an example and practice good driving habits for themselves. Set aside some time to take your teen on practice drives to help improve the basic skills. Plus, it is a good opportunity for together time.
Driver education classes are an important part of the GDL system but remember your teen’s learning starts at home. The lessons taught by a parent are equally as essential.
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to passengers, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation systems – basically, anything that takes your attention away from driving. A distracted teen is significantly more susceptible to being distracted behind the wheel. Texting while driving is the highest-ranked distraction for teen drivers. Taking eyes off the road for even five seconds could cost a life. Teens are somewhat notorious for rebelling against rules.
As a parent, it is important to be stern when setting up rules and boundaries. Be sure to set consequences for distracted driving. Consider suspending your teen’s driving privileges. Limit the hours during which they can drive, or limit the places where they can drive. If your teen breaks the “no cell phone” rule, consider limiting their cell phone privileges.
Setting rules and boundaries from the start will help you and your teen to feel confident navigating this new territory of independence.
- No cell phones
- No extra passengers
- No speeding
- No drugs or alcohol
- Buckle up
Keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times.