Inexperienced drivers are at a higher risk for accidents than almost any other type of driver. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teens are especially at risk because of their immaturity and lack of experience behind the wheel. The idea of mobile independence is often exciting for teens, and accidents and personal injury are often the furthest things from their minds. However, drivers under the age of 20 are involved in twice as many fatal accidents as the rest of drivers populating the road. Fortunately, there are some simple things that parents can do to have a positive influence on their teens’ driving habits.
Graduated Driving Program
Try enrolling your teen in a graduated driver licensing program. Many states, including Colorado, already have programs in place that are designed to help teens develop as drivers before granting them full driving privileges. Under a graduated plan, teens are first given driving permits with restrictions – like limited nighttime driving. Once they become more proficient behind the wheel, these restrictions are slowly lifted.
A full-privilege license can then be acquired through a progressive process–assuming the teen in question does not accumulate infractions during the permit period. By following a program like this, you can help your newly minted driver better understand the seriousness of driving, and help them get used to being behind the wheel.
Drive Home Best Practices
It’s important to emphasize good driving practices to teens as early as possible. According to Safercar.gov, some important rules to emphasize include the following:
- Seat belts are not optional and should always be worn.
- Drugs and alcohol don’t mix with driving.
- Cell phones must be put away. Absolutely no texting or talking is allowed while driving.
- No passengers should be allowed for drivers under the age of 18, unless that passenger is an adult.
- Speed limits are not suggestions; they must be followed at all times.
Make an Agreement with Your Teen
Holding your teen driver accountable for their behavior can also help emphasize the importance of accident prevention and safe driving. One way to do this is to make an enforceable deal or agreement with your teen by signing an agreement with privileges and punishments outlined on the document. To help motivate them, you can even work in some way to reward your teen if they are able to successfully abide by the agreement.
For example, after a year of following the agreement in good standing, you could award your teen by allowing them to go on a short road trip with their friends or pitch in for half of their fuel costs for the following three months. With an agreement in place, you can help motivate your teen to obey safe driving rules, or else suffer the consequences you’ve outlined.