4 Ways to Teach Your Teen Safe Driving Skills
The day a teenager gets their driver’s license is simultaneously very exciting for the teen and stressful for their parents. Take the time to set up rules that you can both agree on. Automobile accidents are the number one cause of teen deaths in the United States. Laws are in place to protect people and save lives. Help your teen understand why they must not take them lightly.
Put the Cell Phone Down
Cell phone usage is such a distraction for drivers that almost every state has created laws restricting their usage for drivers. Text messaging, in particular, is banned for all drivers in the District of Columbia and 46 states. Even the most experienced driver cannot react to something they do not see coming. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds is dangerous. Research shows that the average driver takes their eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Practice, Practice, and More Practice
There is no such things as the perfect driver, but every bit of practice helps. Most students take drivers education in school, which is a great way to learn the fundamentals of driving. Practice time behind the wheel of a real car is critical for building skills and confidence in novice drivers. Driving school is a good way for teens to learn from professionals. Parents who are considering teaching their teen to drive should look into programs like Road Trips from State Farm. Such programs offer a plan for each session and outline goals and tips.
Maintain a Safe and Reliable Car
Choosing a car that is safe and reliable will let everyone rest easier when your teen is on the road. Research maintenance and upkeep expenses, so there are no surprises down the road that your teen cannot afford. Teen drivers should learn some basics from the start, like how to tell when tires need replacing. Tires are costly, but getting the right ones for road conditions in your area is more important than saving a few bucks. Teens should have a general maintenance plan and budget according to expected expenses. Suggest they have a separate bank account for car expenses.
Know and Obey Traffic Laws
Make sure you and your teen know the state and local driving laws. New drivers need to learn ways to create good driving habits. It is never too early to start this process. Play a car game with young teens like “I spy.” See who notices when the speed limit changes or you are driving through a school zone. When you come to a traffic sign, ask them what it means and which car has the right of way. By the time they start driving, many of these skills will already be second nature to them.
It is never too early to teach your teen about driving safety. Lead by example by being a safe driver; even small children will pick up on their parents’ habits. Make learning fun and remind your teen that their safety is important.
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