Kinda scary, isn’t it? Your teen is about ready to drive. And, it seemed like just yesterday you were changing their diapers. And, today, they’re bugging you for the keys. Here’s how to get them behind the wheel and still keep your sanity.
Is Your Teen Ready?
Believe it or not, not all teens are ready to drive. Auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. And, most parents aren’t aware of just how dangerous it is to let them drive, even when they feel that it might be dangerous.
According to Allstate, a major U.S. insurance company, parents should consider their teen’s behavior and judgment in other areas of life, like school, home, and work. Is your teen generally a responsible person? Does he or she follow rules and consider them important? Can your child withstand peer pressure, and does he or she demonstrate leadership qualities with classmates?
Once your teen starts to drive with supervision, you should keep an eye on them to see whether he or she is comfortable driving. The vehicle should always be in control of your teen and he or she needs to be able to make split-second decisions.
Meet The Licensing Requirements
Even before your child starts to drive or begins instruction, you should know what the state regulations are regarding new drivers — especially when they are teenage drivers. Some states only allow teen drivers to drive during the day, for example. Rules about driver licenses can vary by state, though many follow a similar graduated driving scheme. In other words, they may allow a driver to begin at age 15, and then progress through full driving privileges at age 18.
The various tiers and stages will often begin with a learner’s permit. This permit lasts for about 6 months. Sometimes, the permit lasts for a year. During this time, the driver is expected to practice, and get good at, driving. Many states impose a limit as to who can ride with the teen driver as well.
This is because research shows that restricting passengers in the vehicle increases safety. The likelihood of a teen driver getting into an accident increases 44% when there is another teen passenger in the vehicle, for example.
Tips To Help Your Teen
Aside from constantly evaluating your child’s readiness, you can help your child by finding a good instruction program and following all of the rules and regulations for your state. Allow your child the use of a safe vehicle for practice. Usually, this means smaller, newer, vehicles. Though, some teens feel safer in larger vehicles. Older vehicles may be less safe. Make sure your teen does not become a negligent driver by strictly enforcing rules against texting or talking on the phone while driving.
Many teenagers are addicted to their phones. And, they will text and talk almost everywhere. You must curb this habit behind the wheel.
Finally, always keep the lines of communication open. You should always openly state your expectations and the consequences of not following the rules you lay down. Let your teen express his or her own concerns, and raise questions. But, at the end of the day, remember that you are responsible for your underage child.
Alexander Lowe is a family man. He works in the corporate world by day, but enjoys spending time with his growing family along with reading and writing in his free time.