There comes a time in parents’ lives when they need to give their teenagers more independence. If you are thinking about letting your teen drive your own car, or buying them their own wheels, it is important that you understand that their perception of danger might be completely different from yours. As a parent, you can only do so much to help them stay safe, but there are some tools that will give you a peace of mind that they are staying sensible and can deal with unexpected situations. Below you will find a list of interventions you can make use of to get your teenager to understand the risks better.
Don’t let your child drive without a basic training, and teach them only when you are behind the wheel and they are passengers. It is not only illegal, but dangerous as well to let your kid drive you around for practice, even if you are just going around the block. Every state has different permit legislations you must comply with. Check out http://americansafetycouncil.com/content/florida-learners-permit-test to find out what qualifications your teen needs to be able to drive your car or their own. Some states specify the number of compulsory hours of driving, while others need different tests for teenagers.
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Even if your teen passed their driving test, they might not be ready to go out alone. As a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure they are aware of the different dangers and can safely operate the car in different weather conditions. While they might be ready to hit the road immediately, you can ask a friend to take them out, so you take emotions out of the equation, and you can get an objective assessment of your teen’s driving safety and abilities. If you think they could do with more practice, get extra lessons or ask them to drive you around a few times. Don’t tell them that you are assessing their driving skills during the trip, though, or you could hurt their pride.
Advanced Driving Courses
If you don’t think that your teenager is safe on the road, you might get them to take advanced driving courses. A good excuse you can use to encourage them to attend the training is to mention that they could reduce their auto insurance costs by passing the advanced test. Set them a challenge, and you can be more confident that they are aware of the different road signs, speed limits, and the highway rules.
Young Driver Apps
To take advantage of the latest technology, you might want to install some apps on your car’s software or your teenager’s phone. Teen driving apps can monitor your child’s behavior behind the wheel. They can remind them to check the mirrors, look out for blind spots, and use the seat belt. Instead of taking the advice from you and getting defensive, they will be told by their phone what to do, which makes all the difference.
Talk to Their Friends
If your teen is heading out and often gives his friends a ride to school, you could have a chat with the people he drives around to make sure he is safe behind the wheel. Make them promise that they let you know if they believe your teen is taking too many risks on the highway, or is planning to drive under the influence of alcohol. You need to explain your child’s friends that it is their responsibility to spot dangerous situations, too, and avoid accidents. Instead of directly confronting your teen, you can appeal to his friends, who simply want to stay safe on the road and avoid collisions.
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One of the main reasons for accidents caused by teenagers is distractions. They might not be able to focus on driving and another thing. Make them lock their phone in the glove box before they start off, or give them a Bluetooth headset that they can use to answer calls. Don’t let them smoke in the car, and limit the number of people in the car until you are confident that they can deal with the noise and other distractions.
Monitor Your Car Remotely
Some modern cars will allow you to connect an app and monitor the performance remotely. If you are borrowing your own wheels to your teenager, you might want to check the history of the car, to see what speed your child was traveling at, and how many emergency braking maneuvers he had to carry out during the journey. You can set up different driver profiles on some cars, so you can compare your driving style with your child’s and point out the development areas.
Talk About Safe Driving
It is your responsibility to provide useful advice for your teenager when it comes to driving. You need to talk about fuel economy, useful checks on the road and before starting off, as well as the importance of using the seat belt. Make it clear that you are there for them to provide guidance, but you will not enforce your own driving style, and they have to create their own routines.
Practice Hazard Perception Early
The sooner your teenager is able to spot hazards on the road the better chance they will have to react. From an early age, you should teach them how to spot danger on the road. Talk about pulling out from a drive, looking in the mirrors, checking blind spots, and looking out for vulnerable road users, such as small kids and bikes. If you talk to your teenager about the different situations in the car and discuss how to handle them, they will know how to deal with them when they come across similar circumstances.
For many parents, letting their teenager drive alone is one of the scariest situations. Making sure that your child has adequate training, and they are confident behind the wheel can help. Take advantage of the latest technology to monitor their behavior, but let them learn from their own mistakes.