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      NSC HOME > Safety on the Road > Teen Driving > What Parents Can Do      
 
What Parents Can Do
 
Driving is a constant learning process.

Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens. Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) can keep your teen alive behind the wheel and help your teen develop safe driving habits. With GDL, teens start driving in low-risk situations, then progressively face more difficult situations as they gain experience.

This is a scary time - you want to protect your teen, but you are beginning to relinquish control. These simple guidelines can help you understand what you can do to keep your teen driver safe, from the basics such as requiring your teen to buckle up, to the more advanced, such as ensuring your teen has the ability to drive well - and safe.

What can you do to keep your teen driver safe?

Make sure your teen practices – a lot.

Inexperience is a leading cause of teen crashes. Make sure your teen has practice behind the wheel – the more practice, the better. Start off driving during the daytime, then gradually add in practice at night and in inclement weather. Learn more about ways you can help your teen driver practice.

Know the risks your teen faces behind the wheel.

There are three factors that contribute to teen crash risk:

  1.  Inexperience
  2. Teen passengers in the vehicle
  3. Nighttime driving

Research shows that increasing practice time, limiting the number of passengers in your teen’s vehicle and restricting nighttime driving will all contribute to keeping your teen safe.

You should also require your teen to wear his or her safety belt while driving, and require that anyone else in the vehicle wear their belts as well. Finally, do not allow your teen to use a cell phone while driving, under any circumstances. Research shows regulating these factors will keep your teen alive and help your teen become a safe driver.

Set clear, reasonable rules – and stick to them.

As a parent, you’re used to setting rules and following up with consequences if your expectations aren’t met. But driving is different – the risks of driving are huge, so rules should be very specific.

That’s why communication is key. Keep an open dialogue with your teen and discuss your rules. Use a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement to outline both of your expectations and set consequences if they aren’t followed.

Don’t declare victory too early.

So your teen has been through driver’s education, you have practiced driving with your teen in the vehicle and now he or she wants to get a provisional driver’s license. You might think your work is done – but it isn’t.

Make sure your teen is ready for the next step, and keep communicating your expectations.

Remember that teen motor vehicle crashes are deadly.

More than half of parents know that motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 killer of teens – yet they talk to their children about the dangers of smoking and drugs at a younger age, according to The Allstate Foundation.

Act proactively and speak to your teen before a tragedy occurs. Aside from potential financial damage, there are far worse consequences to your teen being involved in a crash. Don't let your child become one of the thousands of people who die in teen driver-related crashes every year.

And remember - your teen is at risk just like anyone else. Assuming that your child is invincible can be deadly.

What else can I do?
 

DriveitHOME
is a new program offering specially-created resources to help parents keep their teens safer on the roads, especially after they receive their driver's licenses. Designed by parents for parents, the unique program includes an interactive website featuing engaging videos and other critical resouces. Parents can sign up to receive weekly practice tips and suggestions via email, and are encouraged to share their own teaching techniques and experiences.

 

You can also learn to reinforce your teen's basic driving skills and good decision-making with the Alive at 25® Parent Program Online.The innovative, two-hour online course will help you be more involved in your teen's learning-to-drive process, helping them to become safe, responsible and defensive drivers. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
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