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Communication With Teens

Communication can keep your teen safe

Talking with your teen is a vital part of the driving process. Having discussions about driving often allow you both to understand each other’s expectations. Before your teen begins to drive unsupervised, have a discussion about safe driving.

What should you discuss with your teen?

  • Rules. Set household rules – for example, call home if you will be more than 15 minutes late – as well as state laws. Remember that you can create your own rules if you feel your state laws are insufficient.
  • Privileges. If your teen meets certain benchmarks, give them a reward. For example, if your teen has proven his or her ability to drive safely in dry weather for three months after licensure, allow your teen to begin driving in light rain.
  • Consequences. Violating an agreed-upon rule results in a consequence. For example, coming home late without calling could mean losing driving privileges for three weeks.

Use a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement to outline rules, privileges and consequences.

What types of rules should you have?

The National Safety Council bases its recommendations on thorough research. Here is a sample list of NSC-recommended rules. Find more in the Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.

 Sample Rule: Obey all traffic laws.  
   Never use alcohol or other drugs and drive.
   Never ride in a car where any alcohol or drug use is occuring.
   Never ride with someone who is driving after using alcohol or other drugs.
   Always wear your safety belt, both as a driver and a passenger.
   Always make sure every passenger is wearing a safety belt.
   Do not drive aggresively, including speeding, cutting others off, etc.
   Do not use a cell phone while driving - park in a safe location before touching your cell phone.

Other rules include setting nighttime and passenger restrictions, requiring the teen driver to call if plans change, and more.

Talk to other parents.
Working together helps save lives of the teens in your community. Talk to your teen’s friends’ parents and keep open lines of communication so you can all help keep everyone safe.


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