How to keep your teen driver safe behind the wheel


Courtesy of Chevrolet

There comes a time in a teenager's life when the urge to get behind the wheel starts to kick in. This might be an exciting time for some parents, but it can easily be other parents' biggest nightmare. When a teenager gets a driver's license, it provides the teen with plenty of freedom and also frees mom and dad from the responsibility of acting like a chauffeur.  

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For some parents, letting their kid drive also comes with some issues and added worries. It's normal to feel scared if your child is ready to start driving. After all, car crashes remain the leading cause of teen deaths. While that is a scary thought, there are many ways to ensure that you teach your child to be a safe and responsible driver before hitting the road. 

It's important to learn all the laws and set your own rules beforehand.

The age when your child can obtain a driver's learning permit or junior driver's license varies depending on the state you live in. As soon as they are able to, most teenagers will approach you about taking classes and taking the permit test. Before you give your kid your approval, familiarize yourself with the driving laws for teen drivers, and also begin setting rules and boundaries for your child. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests letting them drive only during the daytime, banning passengers, restricting cellphone use inside the vehicle, and perhaps establishing an early curfew. 

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It's important to know that our children learn through us.

When giving your child permission to get behind the wheel, it is important that you lead by example. Kids pick up a lot of their driving habits from their parents, so it is imperative that you also practice safe driving. For example, if you text while driving, it is more likely that your child will do the same. So be a role model when you are on the road. 

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Make sure your child is aware of the dangers of driving.

While driving does provide freedom and gives teens a sense of what it is like to be an adult, it is important to start a conversation about the dangers that they might encounter while on the road. Teach them the risks of driving while drunk and ways to avoid distractions like passengers, the radio, and other electronic devices. It takes only a few seconds to lose control of a vehicle. Driving during nighttime and the summer months also increases risk factors. By establishing rules and consequences, you are showing your child that driving is a major responsibility and not just fun and games. 

There are tools you can use to hold your child accountable.

Automobile manufacturers like Chevrolet are committed to helping parents keep their children safe while they are on the road. The carmaker created a tool called Teen Driver, which is a built-in system in the car that helps encourage safe driving habits for teens. Parents can set a speed limiter and an audio limit on the radio. The system also has a function that mutes the audio in the car until a seat belt is in use. It also provides parents with a report card of sorts that gives a rundown of how their child is behaving on the road. 

Topics: parenting  parenting advice  parenting humor