When your teenager is ready to hit the road, use these new driver tips to educate them on vehicle safety and control
Getting a driver's permit is an exciting moment for teenagers. They're one step closer to nights out without their parents, cross-country road trips, and the freedom to move around as they please. Driving school may have taught your teenager road safety and vehicle operation, but learning on paper and in practice are very different.
As a parent, now is the time to be extra cautious. It's your responsibility to help inform your teenager of proper operating methods, how to react to accidents or hazards, and rules to follow. As your children grow into adults, they'll take off on new adventures. Here's to getting them there safely.
New driver tips to teach and practice
1. Always focus on the road
In today's world of mobile technology, most teenagers will struggle with staying off their phones and ignoring other external stimuli such as chatty passengers, billboards, and more.
When talking about driving safety with your teenager, place extra importance on shutting off all devices before operating a vehicle. If necessary, tell your child to store her phone in the glove box. It would also be wise not to listen to any music while driving for at least the first month.
2. Find the best seat position and adjust mirrors accordingly
Before your teenager turns on the ignition, have her find the best possible seat position. This first step will automatically focus her attention on safety and procedure.
Here is a checklist for optimal seat positioning:
- Both feet can easily reach the gas and brake pedal.
- The steering wheel is reachable without having to fully extend the arms.
- The seat is upright with a straight back, not reclined or slouched forward.
Once she finds a good seated position, coach her on how to adjust the rearview and side mirrors. The rearview mirror should reflect the entire back window without having to stretch or move. Side mirrors should be angled toward the back corner of the vehicle.
3. Wear a seatbelt
Of all new driver tips, this is the most important one. There is no such thing as too much time spent teaching your teenager to wear a seatbelt. It should be the very first thing she does when entering the vehicle.
Seatbelts save lives. Period.
4. Keep a restriction on how many friends are allowed in the car
Depending on state laws and regulations, there may be a restriction on how many passengers (outside of family members) a teen driver can have in the vehicle. For the sake of your child's safety, create your own rules about this issue. Other passengers can be a huge distraction on the road.
We recommend the following system; however, be sure to check and adhere to your state laws:
- Months 1-6: no friends allowed
- Months 7-12: one friend, preferably over the age of 18
- Months 12-16: two friends, preferably one over the age of 18
5. Put their knowledge to the test
Eventually, your teen will have to operate a vehicle with confidence. Once you feel comfortable with how much experience and training she's received, put these new driver tips to the test.
On a weekend afternoon, drive out to a remote location and encourage her to pay attention to her surroundings and the route you're taking. Then, she should take the wheel to drive home. You can accompany her or have your spouse follow in a separate car to drive you back.
Here are a few rules for the new driver to follow:
- No asking for directions
- No GPS
- If it takes more than an hour, have her call you for help
Take your new driver tips seriously
If you want your teenager to follow these tips, you have to be serious about following them yourself. Children learn from example; if they observe you talking on the phone or not obeying the speed limit, they will likely make those same mistakes. Keep these new driver tips in mind, and be extra careful to show how it's done the right way.
Don't take a chance! Now that your teen is beginning to drive, it's time to think about adding them to your policy or choosing different insurance options. We'll make sure your child is covered in case of an accident.
What do you think about our tips? Are there any important ones you feel should be added? Share your thoughts in the comments!