Lesson 16: Remember: Your Teen Needs Your Help to Stay Safe
Your teen once needed you to buckle him or her into the proper car seat before each ride, but just because your teen has now moved to the driver’s seat, your role is not over. Car crashes are the leading cause of preventable death for teens, but parents are the biggest influence on their driving habits. No matter how much time your teen has spent behind the wheel, your involvement is crucial to keeping him or her safe.
Even once your teen gets used to driving alone, use the New Driver Deal to update and enforce relevant driving rules. The Deal can help you continue to address risky issues like passengers and curfews, as well as any driving-related costs that come up. Though your teen will want more freedom behind the wheel, be sure that any new privileges are earned. Your teen’s age does not decide his or her driving ability, so pay careful attention to the skills your teen develops over time.
Now that you have completed these lessons, use your own experience to keep teaching your teen to drive. Share your knowledge, tips and best practices you have learned over the years to make your teen a more responsible road user. And always set a good example for your teen to follow. If you are an aggressive, distracted or fatigued driver, your teen will think it is perfectly normal to drive this way. So keep your teen in mind on every drive, and he or she will likely do the same with you.
Talk: Driving alone will be a unique experience for your teen, one that will bring plenty of frustrations and added risks. Let your teen know that while drivers like to group others in terms of “good” or “bad” driving, there’s really only one “right” way to drive: safely. Make sure that is your teen’s goal, and he or she will be a driver we all want to share the road with.