It’s a nerve-wracking thing to send your teenager out onto the road! Our driving lessons in Gresham can be a great first step to making them road-ready, but it’s not the only thing you can do. Here are some of our favorite ideas for helping teens stay safe on the road.
Talk to them about the dangers of distracted driving.
Distracted driving is a growing cause of accidents on the road. Distractions take the form of eating, putting on makeup, changing the radio station, and talking with friends. But the worst offender of distraction in the car is looking at a smartphone. Talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving, particularly when it comes to using their phone in the car. Some smartphones offer a car mode that stops texts and other alerts from coming through when the car is in motion; encourage your teen to use it if it’s available. Let them know that causing an accident isn’t worth glancing at their phone, and no message is so important that it is worth the risk. If they have to look at their phone, encourage them to pull over to do so.
Make sure they know what to do if they’ve been in an accident.
The thought of your teen being in an accident is enough to make any parent’s blood run cold. It’s a sad truth, though, that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are at a higher risk of being in an accident. Make sure your teen knows what to do if it happens, including that they should never ever drive away. Make sure they keep current insurance information in their vehicle, know who to call, and how to keep themselves safe after an accident. Encourage them to stay in their vehicle after an accident until police or an ambulance arrives; a lot of injuries happen after the initial accident when dazed drivers wonder into oncoming traffic.
Let them know that even though they can drive, you’ll still come get them.
It’s great that your teen can drive themselves now. It can free up a lot of time in your schedule when you aren’t acting as their personal taxi. But just because they can drive doesn’t always mean that they should, and your teen should know that you are still there for them if they need a ride. You can always go back and get their car later. Make it clear that they should never drive if they’ve had anything to drink, if they don’t feel safe driving in the current weather conditions, or if they are feeling sleepy. Coming to get them might be a hassle but it’s worth it to keep them safe.
Drive with them as much as possible.
Don’t stop driving with your teen once they have their license and their own vehicle. Have them drive you when you are going somewhere together in order to observe their driving habits. This can help you correct bad habits and may even help you feel better about their abilities behind the wheel. Continue driving with them for at least a year; it’s good quality time, too! Periodic check-ins on their driving behaviors are great throughout their teenage years, too.
Set a good example.
Finally, make sure that you are setting a good example as a driver from the time your child is young all the way through their teen years. When they see you focusing on the road instead of on your cell phone, waiting to check text messages until the car is stopped and turned off, and always wearing your seatbelt, they are much more likely to follow suit and emulate those behaviors. If they see you doing things that you shouldn’t behind the wheel, then they might think those behaviors are okay and copy them, which could be the last thing you want them to do. Setting a good example is the best foundation for success that you can give a teen driver!
Want to make sure your teen has the skills they need for the open road? We offer driving lessons in Gresham that can get them ready for the road and give both you and your teen confidence. Sign up for our classes online or give us a call to learn more!