Most new drivers start out super cautious when first learning to drive. They’re model citizens- driving the speed limit, hyper-aware of their surroundings. But like all novelties, the newness wears off.
Newness? Meet comfortable. Cue distracted driving. Part of becoming a better driver is experience.
Check out our awesome top ten ways to helping your teen become a better driver.
- Model positive driving habits. That means, parents and guardians, put your phone down while driving. This includes text to talk, fiddling with your Apple Music playlist and absolutely no taking red light selfies! (You know some of you do.) They’re watching, if for no other reason than to stack up evidence against you.
- Allow your teen to drive as much as possible– During the permit year is a great place to start. The more driving scenarios they’re exposed to, the more they’ll learn how to respond.
- Geographical driving culture. Teach your child road etiquette. Adjust expectations based on your local driving culture. Teens who live in rural settings, back roads, and one traffic light will have a much different experience than driving in say, Miami. (Survival of the fittest. Leave early.)
- Communication. Be in constant contact. Help your teen to be accountable to you and aware of their surroundings. Set boundaries and make your teen adhere to them. Curfews. Poor weather conditions. Check in often.
- Help your teen understand opportunities. Have conversations with your teen about the privilege of driving. Not lectures. Conversations. Invite dialogue about ways they can use their license for productivity. (Hint. Jobs, extracurricular activities, evening, post-pajama store runs for you….)
- Ride in your teen’s car. Oh man, they’ll love this one. Invite a drive somewhere in their car. Don’t give them the option. Occasionally, encourage and support their driving in their element. They may or may not look back on this fondly. Either way, it’s good to let them know that you’re invested in their driving.
- Discuss teen accident news. It seems morbid, but this kind of education can have a direct impact on peers. Awareness is critical. Especially when it comes to their peers. Teens can take mortality for granted. Help educate them about the instances that cause accidents.
- Encourage and praise them. Teens need to know when they’re doing a good job. Praise healthy driving habits, consistently getting home by curfew, and occasionally throw them a few extra bucks for gas. Encouragement is motivating.
- Seatbelts. Always. Every time. Every single passenger. Non-negotiable.
Require contribution. Teens need to be invested in their role as a licensed driver. Even if you can afford it, require that they contribute to insurance, gas, and maintenance. Give them ownership of this responsibility. And for Pete’s sake- if they get a ticket, make them pay for all of it. Pete would want it that way.