One day, we wake up and instead of playing with toy cars, our children are ready to be behind the wheel. It happens in the blink of an eye. Each state has its own laws regulating driving permits, licensing, and age requirements but there are some universal safety precautions we need to take with our teens before they back out of the driveway.
Drivers Education Classes
Be sure to enroll your teen in a driver’s education program. Firstly, this can take away some of the emotion and stress out of the beginning stages of learning to drive. Especially for you! It also ensures that a teen gets training in most laws and procedures, and better ensures they pass their written and driving test.
In addition to road safety, which they will learn in a driver’s education class, make sure that they have knowledge of basic first aid. Provide them with handy information on what to do in case of an accident or emergency. Do they know how to keep themselves safe? Who to call for help? What if they break down? Thinking through these situations before your teens are in them will make everyone safer. Put all this information down on paper and leave it in the car so they always have it on hand.
We need to have tough conversations about driving, too. Driving can be extremely dangerous. Have candid conversations about distracted driving, impaired driving, using seatbelts, drowsy driving, and speeding. Don’t forget to discuss what the consequences will be if these rules – and laws in some cases – are violated. Set limits and expectations with your teens.
Be a Role Model
Hopefully up until this point, you have been a good driver yourself; doing all the things you want your teen to do when they are driving. It’s important to remember that they are watching what you are doing, and they are listening to what you say (even under your breath!). If you find yourself being a more aggressive driver or having to navigate a unique driving situation that probably won’t come up in a driver’s ed setting, talk through it with them. Let them know the “why” behind your actions.
Take a deep breath, parents of drivers! You can do this!