As a parent, you spend many waking moments thinking about your child’s safety and protecting them from all sorts of danger. When they come of age, you are, therefore, compelled to reflect on and advocate for their safety on the road.
As you hand your teen the keys to the family car, you should ask yourself if you’re prepared to help protect them from the risks of causing – or otherwise being involved in – car crashes.
Setting a good example
Safe driving habits start at home. If parents practice safe driving, teenagers are more likely to follow suit. Avoid distractions, obey traffic rules and always wear your seatbelt. Your actions speak louder than words. Open and honest communication is also essential. Talk to your teenager about the risks and responsibilities of driving; educate them on the dangers of distracted driving, drunk driving and speeding. More importantly, encourage your teenager to ask questions and seek guidance when needed.
Defensive driving courses
Defensive driving courses provide valuable skills and knowledge that can drastically reduce the risk of accidents. Encourage your teenager to enroll in such courses to become a safer and more responsible driver.
Limit nighttime driving
Nighttime driving poses higher risks for teenage drivers. Consider setting a curfew for your teenager to limit nighttime driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the crash rate for teenagers is significantly higher at night.
Implement graduated licensing
Minnesota has graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs that gradually introduce teenagers to more complex driving situations. These programs can help teens gain experience and confidence on the road before they face any particularly challenging conditions on their own.
Parents and guardians can play an invaluable role in ensuring their teenagers’ safety on the road. By proactively working with your teen as they embark on their driving journey, you can minimize the possibility of them being involved in a car crash.