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Teen drivers are in a risky position. With a license or a learner’s permit, they can legally get behind the wheel, yet they still need guidance, instruction and, above all, experience in order to stay safe.
This is where parents can help. As you practice with your teen driver, you can help them learn to drive safely in new situations, conditions and environments. Our weekly Pointers for Parents can help you come up with some of these lessons, but one of the best things you can do is to simply take a different route each time you drive together.
Many parents take advantage of daily driving errands to give their teens more time behind the wheel, whether you’re letting your teen drive the two of you to the grocery store, the post office or the doctor’s office. But the more your teen takes these same trips around town, the more likely he or she is to get used to them.
Complacency is a major issue for drivers, one which can put all road users at risk. When we drive to the same places via the same routes each day, we sometimes allow ourselves to zone out and pay less attention than if we were driving somewhere for the first time. You can help your teen combat this contentment by having them take different paths to these regular destinations.
It's not the most complex lesson, but it can make a big difference. Though some routes may take longer than others, they can help your teen can gain a better understanding of the local roads and get experience with traffic, construction and other driving issues. Most importantly, it will teach your teen to always scan the road for hazards and to use caution each time they get behind the wheel, whether they’re driving somewhere for the first of the 50th time.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.
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