Newly licensed teens want freedom. With a license, they can finally make some decisions for themselves and go places without depending entirely on others. It’s completely natural, but that doesn’t make it completely safe.
A license might mean your teen can drive alone, but it doesn’t mean your teen is a perfect driver. To ensure your teen’s safety, it is critical that you stay involved and enforce clear rules even after your teen has earned the right to drive alone. If you haven’t already, be sure to review our first and second sets of lessons for new drivers to ensure you don’t miss anything.
Here are some tips for working with your teen to prioritize safety behind the wheel.
With the ability to drive without supervision, the last thing your teen needs is total freedom. This doesn’t mean you have to scrutinize every single trip your teen makes, but it does mean keeping several rules in place: no passengers, no distractions and no driving past curfew. Talk to your teen about the importance of these rules so he or she understands them and is less tempted to break them.
Every new driver develops skills at a different rate, so it is up to you to monitor your teen’s progress and make decisions based on what you see. If your teen has struggled with certain tasks, like always signaling or checking blind spots before merging, keep practicing them! And if your teen has a tendency to ignore certain rules, don’t be afraid to get especially strict until he or she improves. Even with a license, driving is a privilege; your teen has to understand that safety comes first.
No matter how well your teen has developed behind the wheel, it is crucial for you to stay involved, even after he or she has gotten a license. You may feel like your job is over, but you are still a role model for your teen’s driving habits. Continue to drive regularly with your teen, set a good example and offer tips when needed. Just 30 minutes a week can make a big difference and help keep your teen driver safe.