Lesson 2: Agree With Your Teen to Drive Safe
Now that your teen can drive alone, the driving rules you both agree to are especially important. You won’t always be there to monitor your teen’s choices, but you can still have a presence with the New Driver Deal.
The New Driver Deal is a parent-teen driving agreement covering some of the most important driving rules both you and your teen should agree to. If you already have one, now is the time to revise it to reflect your teen’s licensing. If this is your first time filling it out, it’s a great opportunity to get on the same page as your teen about curfews, passengers and other issues.
Though your teen has likely been practicing with you for months, driving alone is a different experience. Driving skills that were easy with you in the passenger seat may suddenly become difficult when there’s no one around to offer help, so keep this in mind as you complete the New Driver Deal with your teen. Don’t assume that your teen doesn’t need restrictions, or that you can fill it out and forget it; even with a license, your teen needs your help. Take advantage of the customizable parts of the Deal to create and agree on rules that will keep your teen safe.
One of the most important parent commitments comes toward the bottom of the New Driver Deal: “I will make arrangements to get my teen home if it is unsafe for my teen or someone else to drive.” Now that your teen can drive alone, he or she is going to make mistakes and poor decisions. It is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to result in injuries or something worse. Make sure your teen understands that his or her safety is more important than anything else, and that you can always be called for help in a potentially dangerous situation. Consequences can always come later, but your teen should never feel pressured to make a deadly choice to avoid a punishment.
Talk: As you complete the New Driver Deal with your teen, talk through when you will revisit items like passengers and curfews so that your teen knows when these privileges might be extended. The clearer you are about what your teen needs to do to earn more driving privileges, the more likely he or she will be to stick to these agreements.