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Tips for Improving Teen Driver Safety

When a teen gets his or her driver’s permit, it can be one of the most exciting and exhilarating feelings to experience. While some teens experience excitement and exhilaration, others experience anxiety and fear. These are all valid feelings. With this new opportunity will be great responsibility and the need for continued learning and safety. These teens still have a lot to learn about driving, and it really takes practice in order to get better at it.

We can equip our teens to succeed on the road and continue to learn through some basic, yet valuable, safety tips. When teens follow these tips or rules, they will be able to drive with less stress and anxiety while enjoying the freedom of the open road.

Teens struggle with distractions and learning to manage them as new drivers; therefore, focusing on the road instead of the distractions is a simple guideline to follow to remain safe while driving. When teen drivers have friends in the car, it is important for them to realize and understand that, while it is acceptable to talk or sing along to the radio while driving, their primary focus needs to be on the road. All of their friends want to remain safe as well, so they will certainly appreciate the driver focusing on the road first and foremost.

Not only are friends a large distraction for teen drivers, but technology is another. The typical teen driver has a smartphone, which can be a fatal distractor. In addition to talking on the phone, they also will be tempted to text while driving, look for music on the phone, or even check notifications from social media applications. Those are all extremely dangerous tasks for the experienced driver, so clearly the new teen driver would have amplified risk attempting these tasks.

It is important to set ground rules for your house in addition to any state laws that are set in place. State laws are in place to help, but they do not cover all aspects in this regard. Parents should follow up these rules with creating a contract for the teen driver and the parents. These expectations can change over time, but it is best to begin with restrictions from the start and relax them later as the teen becomes more experienced. The contract can be an effective way to ensure the teen understands what is expected of them through the restrictions, privileges, rules, and consequences. This would also be a good reference in the event the teen tries to break or bend the rules. This contract should be tailored to fit the specific needs of your family, but remain simple to ensure teen driving safety first and foremost.

Finally, a great tip to ensure teen driving safety would be to recognize and assess hazardous situations. In a region where snowy and icy weather is inevitable and can be dangerous, we need to be aware of those and other hazardous situations that could appear to be seemingly safe. Heavy rain can cause a driver to hydroplane or lose control. A teen driver on a dark or unfamiliar street can be perfect conditions for a potential accident. A very effective way to counteract these hazardous situations could include teen drivers not driving at all if they feel uncomfortable with a situation. When teens are faced with these situations, they lack the experience to know how to handle them properly. They could call a parent to pick them up or stay at a friend’s house.

With driving comes great privilege and responsibility. Additionally, in time teens will gain the necessary experience and knowledge to be informed drivers, as well as safe drivers. It is important to keep our teens safe on the road, as well as others that may encounter them while on the roads. It’s always safest to proceed with caution.

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