While you were probably worrying enough about your teenager, to begin with, it doesn’t get much better when they’re old enough to drive a car. Now they won’t just be hanging out with their friends who knows where but they’ll be cruising around with them all over town – and it’s not exactly the most settling feeling a parent can have.
Luckily, there are ways to feel slightly more comfortable with all of these new changes and, let’s face it, trying to stop them from growing up and getting their driver’s license won’t really get you the parent of the year award either.
That’s why you need to find a few ways to make them a safer and more responsible driver. Here is a handful of the best ways to introduce your kid to responsible driving so that you can feel perfectly comfortable when they’re out and about, knowing that they will do their very best to stay safe no matter what.
It’s the kind of stuff that just makes it a bit easier to sleep at night.
First: Talk about distracted driving
Sure, you and your teenager have probably heard all about distracted driving before; in short, it’s all about not being one hundred percent focused on the road. When we start to get a bit more comfortable behind the steering wheel, it’s definitely easy enough to let your mind wander and feel secure enough to even check a quick text message once in a while.
The problem with this, however, is that distracted driving is the number one cause to road accidents among teenagers and young adults. They’re prone to checking their phones every now and then, cranking up the volume on their radios, and chatting to those in the backseat – and they’re not exactly experienced drivers yet either.
That’s why you need to make sure that they’re not overly confident when driving and talking to them about the dangers of allowing themselves to get distracted. This is, of course, the keyword; even if they’re friends are rowdy in the backseat and regardless of whether their phones are pinging in messages non-stop, they still have the option to stay focused while driving.
Let them know that you expect them to make the right choice and tell their friends to be a bit quieter so that they have the opportunity to keep them safe. People do enjoy safety, after all, and as long as they’ve chosen the right kind of friends, they should be able to understand the situation.
Another great way to make sure that their car as well as your teen stays safe is to treat them to private registrations for their vehicle. It just makes it a bit easier to find the car in case it should be stolen and it really doesn’t have to cost too much either. Just have a look around the web and you will probably find something perfect within your price range.
Next: Take a drive with your teen
If your kid learned how to drive through a driving school mostly, you probably haven’t been in the car with them too much while they’re behind the steering wheel. Perhaps you’re just used to driving them around or maybe you’ve even been avoiding it – there are, after all, a lot of parents who don’t feel too safe when they’re teenagers are driving.
Show them some trust by taking a drive once in a while instead. That way, you’re not only showing him or her that you believe in them as a driver but you will also get the opportunity to figure out whether or not their driving is sufficiently safe.
Pay attention to how focused they are, first of all, and try to notice if their eyes wander as soon as that phone goes off. If you do notice this, you might feel tempted to tell them off straight away but resist the temptation and see this as an opportunity for learning instead.
When you get home, you can just mention that you noticed that they’re a bit distracted while driving and, while this is very common among teenagers, it makes you a bit worried.
Perhaps they will let you install an app on their phone so that you can keep an eye on their driving through your own phone – or maybe they’re just able to take you seriously and try to focus a bit better the next time. You can check out this article for some excellent driving apps, by the way, in case this is a good option for your teen.
Hopefully, though, you will notice during the ride that your teenager is, in fact, an excellent and responsible young driver who would never dream of allowing a text message to get them into a road accident.
Set a good example
Another great way to ensure that you’re raising a responsible teen is to monitor your own driving a bit as well. They grew up watching you, after all, and if you always keep your eyes on the road and never make any hasty decisions mid-traffic, you can feel fairly confident that your teen will stay focused while driving as well.
If not, it’s time to clean up your own driving and make sure that you haven’t passed on any bad driving habits to your influenceable teen kid. Think about your own driving, first of all, and try to keep your eyes open for the same habits when you’re out on the road with your teenager.
Eating in the car, talking on the phone, and keeping loud discussions with the other passengers are all habits that should be eliminated when you’re behind the steering wheel; if this is something you’re guilty of, your teenager will most likely do the same.
Seeing your kid grow up to be an independent teenager can certainly be a bit scary. The good news, however, is that he or she is old enough to make the right decisions now. Just make sure that you have taught them right and that they have the tools to succeed so that they can stay safe and you can feel comfortable whenever they’re out on the road.
Infographic created by Capital Auto Auction