It was a big day when your teen passed his driving test and got his license. A license means more freedom for him and less taxiing for you. But you are worried about his safety, and for good reason. Teen drivers have three times as many accidents as drivers aged 20 and up. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, with 12 teens losing their lives every day in crashes across the country. While some teens take unnecessary risks behind the wheel, most teen accidents are caused by simple inexperience. As a parent, however, there are steps you can take to make sure your teen continues to learn behind the wheel and that he stays safe on the road.
Reducing Your Teen Driver’s Risks
Just because the state has issued a license to your teen doesn’t mean he is ready to handle every circumstance that might come his way on the road. He will surely encounter a hazard or challenge that he doesn’t know how to react to. The more involved you continue to be in his driving, the more likely it is that he will know how to respond to avoid a ticket or an accident. Stay involved in the following ways:
- Continue to practice with your teen. Make a point of riding with your teen for at least 30 minutes every week, even though it is no longer required by law. Some car insurance providers even offer discounts when parents regularly supervise their licensed teen’s driving.
- Set a good example. Drive the way you want your teen to drive. Teens continue to learn from your example, even after they have a license. Whether they are in the car with you or just hear you describing your drive home from work, they are soaking it all in.
- Let teens earn new privileges. Like a graduated license from the state, you can set limits on your teen and grant new privileges—like driving at night or driving a friend or two—as he demonstrates responsible behavior.
- Sign the New Driver Pledge. Created by the National Safety Council in conjunction with automakers and insurance companies, the pledge outlines rights and responsibilities for both you and your teen. Discussing the details of the pledge will lead to more communication about safe driving.
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