Few milestones are as exciting as your teen’s first time behind the wheel, but their first driving experience can also be nerve-wracking for parents. A crash involving a teen driver is four times more likely to lead to death or serious injury than crashes involving adult drivers, so it’s important to stay calm and teach your teen the skills they need to have an accident-free driving career. With a lot of practice and encouragement from you, your teen driver will be ready to take to the streets.
Things Your Teen Driver Should Know
Whether your teenager just passed their driver’s test or they’ve been driving on their own for years, it’s still important to remind them about safety while they’re behind the wheel. Here are seven tips to help your teen drive safely and protect themselves from accidents and tickets while learning to drive:
Get Important Papers Ready
One of the most important lessons for teens new to driving is to get all their documents in order. Most teens will need to fill out an application for a driver’s license, in addition to other important documents like car insurance. After getting their first car from a Spearfish car dealership, teach your teen to always keep any required paperwork in their glove compartment. Moreover, some state or local governments may require health records, medical information, or notarized forms to accompany an application for a new license, so inform them of this as well.
Drive During Daylight Hours
The number one killer of teen drivers is car accidents, with 70% of these deadly accidents occurring at night. If you are a parent with a teen driver, be sure to enforce driving rules during daylight hours whenever possible. Do whatever you can to help your teen avoid driving at night early into their driving career as it is much more dangerous than driving during daylight hours. When driving with your teen, help them practice their nighttime-driving skills under low-light conditions so they’re ready for what they might encounter after dark.
Stop At Yellow Lights and Don’t Go Through Them
In a lot of places, driving through a yellow light is illegal. In certain areas it may even result in a fine and in others, you can face higher insurance rates and even license suspension. Teach your teen to stop at yellow lights to prevent an emergency situation. Remind them that if they’re caught going through a red light it will result in hefty fines and demerit points.
Respect Pedestrians Crossing
One of the most common mistakes made by teen drivers is failing to observe pedestrian traffic while making a right turn. To help prevent crashes, teach your teen driver to look for oncoming pedestrians when preparing to make a right turn at an intersection. Even if there are no pedestrians in sight, it’s important for your teen driver to check over both shoulders before turning right. This precaution could prove invaluable when avoiding an unexpected crossing.
Watch Out for Children
Make sure you teach your teen to take extra precautions when driving around children. Teens can never be too careful and their behavior behind the wheel matters just as much as that of any other driver on the road. Teens need to pay close attention to children walking along sidewalks or crossing streets. This is not only because children may dash out in front of the car without looking both ways first, but also because kids should never walk too closely to vehicles moving at high speeds.
Don’t Text While Driving
According to research, distracted driving is responsible for more than 3,000 deaths per year. If you’re planning on helping your teen obtain their driver’s license soon, one of your biggest priorities should be teaching them about safe driving practices. In many states, driving while texting is illegal so it’s important to drive this point home.
Take Practice Tests
Most states offer online practice tests for new drivers. If your teen doesn’t already have a learner’s permit, it’s usually not too difficult to get one by providing the school with proof of enrollment and passing the vision exam. Once your teen passes that test, most states allow teenagers to practice driving on public roads with an adult who has a license.
According to AAA, young drivers are safest when they have at least six months of practice before getting their official license. To ensure your teen gets all those hours on public roads safely, consider enrolling them in a driver’s ed course at school.
Make sure your teen knows how to stay safe behind the wheel and on the road. Use this guide to turn your teen into a certifiably safe driver.