Parents of new teen drivers live with a two-fold sense of anxiety: first, they are worried about their child’s life each time they get behind the wheel, and they are concerned for the lives of the other drivers on the road should their child’s lack of experience cause a crash that hurts someone else.
Because getting your driver’s license for the first time is a rite of passage in our culture, most parents of teens will be forced to endure the process of watching their teen learn how to be a safe and confident driver. We wanted to share some safety tips that parents can use to help ease some of the anxiety and channel it into useful guidance to help their teen drivers make smarter decisions as they are learning to drive.
1. Practice makes proficient
The thing that makes the difference between a novice driver and a skilled driver is experience. Take the time to supervise your new driver as they practice as much as possible. Sit in the front passenger seat and allow them the time to practice so that they can shed the initial nervous jitters and begin to feel confident behind the wheel. Pack your patience and offer constructive criticism in a calm voice. If you do not want to take the time, or do not think your nerves will survive, buy driving lessons from a professional driving school and let them learn from a professional. (Taking professional driving lessons could earn them a nice discount on their car insurance.)
2. Safety first
Establish a routine of making sure that they fasten their seat belt, adjust their seat and the mirrors before every trip.
3. Put the phone away
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about one in three teens who text, say that they have done so while driving. Texting and driving increase the risk of a crash by 23 times. Remind your teen driver to turn off their phone, put it in “drive mode” and put it out of reach while they are driving. Also, texting is not the only distraction that will increase the risk of a crash: grooming, talking to other vehicle occupants, being distracted by something outside of the vehicle, eating and anything else that takes their attention away from the task of driving.
4. Restrict driving at night
Driving at night greatly increases the risk your teen will become involved in a car accident. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute reports that about 58% of teen crash deaths occur between 6pm and 6am. While the North Carolina graduated license program (GDL) permits novice drivers to drive until 9pm for the first six months with adult supervision, you can impose your own curfew for night driving until you feel your young driver is confident enough behind the wheel.
5. Set a good example
Be a safe driver and set a good example for your teen to follow rather than being a cautionary tale. Clearly communicate your expectations of your teen’s behavior before you teach them to drive. Enforce the rules of no texting behind the wheel, no drinking and driving, obeying the speed limit and obeying the GDL rules.
The time you invest in supervising your teen’s driving practice, the better you will feel about them eventually driving on their own.
If you or your teen driver has been injured in a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, the experienced Charlotte car accident lawyers at Warren & Kallianos, PLLC offer a free consultation to discuss your case. With nearly 60 years of combined experience fighting for North Carolina accident victims, we fight for fair compensation for you. You may schedule your free case consultation by calling 704-377-7777 or completing our contact form.