Teenage years are understandably the most challenging for both parents and teens. This is the time when typical teenagers begin to show more independence from their parents and take on more responsibilities. In Florida, teenagers can obtain a driver’s license at just 16 years old. Although this may be exciting for your teenager, it’s quite a scary thought for parents. Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens. The primary contributing factors in these crashes are driver inexperience and distracted driving.
Here are some tips parents can use to help keep their teen drivers safe on the road:
- Take time and ride along with your teen for at least 30–50 hours before they ever drive alone. Teens lack driving experience; therefore, the more they practice, the better.
- Practice with your teen at different times of day, in different kinds of weather, and in both heavy and light traffic.
- Limit your teen’s nighttime driving, and make sure your teen is off the road by 9 pm.
- Limit the number of passengers your teen rides with.
- Discuss your rules of the road with your teen.
- Require your teen to wear a seat belt on every trip.
- Keep tabs on where your teen is going. Consider downloading a driver monitoring app such as Life360 which tracks driver speed and location.
- Remind your teen regularly about specific dangers they may or will likely encounter while driving. (Even if you’ve told them once, we know most of us become complacent and take driving from one place to another for granted. We all need reminders from time to time.)
- Put all distractions aside. Your teen’s cellphone should be put away while driving.
- Do not drink any alcohol or use any drugs before getting behind the wheel.
Parents can make a big difference in keeping teen drivers safe. It is important to have firm driver-safety guidelines in place and remember to be a good role model for your child.
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