Parents of teenagers know just how eager teens are to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Teenagers are among the least safe drivers on the road, but it isn’t really their fault. Their lack of experience and knowledge makes them incredibly vulnerable to making mistakes while on the road.
It is also important to remember that teenagers are inherently more dangerous behind the wheel than adults. This is because the part of their brains that controls decision making isn’t fully developed until age 25. For this reason, parents need to be heavily involved in the teaching process when it comes to driving. The very first thing parents should do is act as an example of how they want their teenagers to behave when driving. At Horn Law, we call this Drive by Example, and it is one of our biggest platforms in teen driver safety.
Drive by Example
Teenagers have watched their parents drive for years before they ever get in the driver’s seat themselves. During these years, it is critical that they see parents who are calm, courteous, and safe behind the wheel.
As an example for your child, you will want to model being alert behind the wheel and always watching traffic up ahead. In addition, being defensive and cautious behind the wheel can help you avoid a serious accident that could lead to injury or death.
Providing a positive example for your teenager is critical during their childhood and will help you establish safe driving practices into their teenage/adult years. A few things you can model for your children are always buckling up, using turn signals, properly checking mirrors before changing lanes or merging, and obeying all traffic laws.
Displaying these types of behaviors sets a good example for your teenagers, but there are other things you can do to protect your teenager, too.
9 Tips for Protecting Your Teen Driver Behind the Wheel
At Horn Law, part of our mission is to put safer drivers on the road—especially when it comes to young drivers. Aside from setting a good example, here are our other tips for keeping your teenager safe when driving:
- Enforce the GDL Law
Graduated Driver’s Licensing Laws are present in nearly every state. These laws impose restrictions on drivers prior to them receiving a license that provides full driving privileges. However, unlike other traffic laws, GDL laws aren’t easily enforceable by police officers.
- Require Seatbelts
If you have made buckling seatbelts a habit for your teenager throughout the years that you drove them around, then you probably won’t have to harp on them to buckle up when they are on their own. However, it is important to remind them of the importance of buckling their own seatbelt and making sure all passengers are also buckled before starting the car.
- Teach Defensive Driving
Defensive driving is your teenager’s best weapon on the road. Always being alert of what other drivers are doing could help prevent an accident when your teen is behind the wheel.
- Glove Box the Phone
We all know the dangers of distracted driving; however, that doesn’t always mean that we remember to prevent distractions in the vehicle while we are driving. Establish a healthy habit of placing your cell phone out of reach while you are driving and teach your teen to do the same.
- Provide a Safe Vehicle
A safe vehicle is a smart choice for a teen driver. You want to provide a vehicle with crash protection features. We don’t recommend sports cars or cars with high centers of gravity, which are more prone to roll-over accidents.
- Consider a Teen Driving Agreement
Use our Teen Driving Agreement to establish clear expectations and boundaries with your teenager that you expect to be upheld while they are operating a vehicle.
- Visit with an Auto Insurance Agent
When you put your teenager on your car insurance policy, take them in with you to speak to an agent. First, this will help them feel comfortable purchasing a policy in the future. Second, they will hear what the agent says about the policy and coverage options, which will hopefully lead to safer driving practices.
- Talk About Accident Reminders
While you hope that your teen is never in an accident, you need to discuss what needs to happen in the event that they are involved in a car crash. In the event of an accident, your teen needs to:
- Stay calm
- Turn off the car or pull out of traffic, if possible
- Call the police and give them the location of the accident
- Carefully exit the car
- Use hazard lights and raise the hood of the car to protect the scene
- Help anyone who is injured and call an ambulance, if needed
- Stay polite and courteous regardless of who is at fault
These tips can help make the process safer and easier for everyone who is involved.
- Preach the ABC&Ds of Safe Driving
You are already leading by example with this one, but be sure that you also take the time to teach your teenager these precautions. Remind them to:
- Drive Alert,
- Buckle Up,
- Be Cautious, and
- Drive Defensively
If you or someone you know happens to be injured in an accident, Horn Law can help you get the money you need. Call us today at 816-795-7500.