There are about 8 million teen drivers on the road in the U.S., with thousands more getting their licenses year after year. If your teenager just got their driver’s license, it’s important to set them up the right way.
But how do you instill responsibility in your teen so that they’re safe and aware on the road? What are some key driving tips for teenagers?
That’s what we’re here to look at today. Read on to find out more about tips for newly licensed drivers and how to set your teens up for success.
Tips for Newly Licensed Drivers
When it comes to driving on the road unsupervised for the first time, things like safety, distractions, and following the rules take priority. Let’s start with safety, specifically with choosing the right car.
1. Pick the Right Car
While a teenager might not have full control over this, it’s important that they pick a car that suits their needs. If they learned how to drive a certain car, it’s best to find one that’s similar or even the same as that one.
Teenagers who learned how to drive on a stick might do best with a manual transmission car. Maybe those who learned to drive a smaller sedan should start with a smaller vehicle.
Finding a car that your teenager is comfortable with is crucial, as it helps them adjust to the road once they’re on their own. Choosing one with the right safety features is crucial as well!
2. Minimize Distractions
When getting on the road for the first time, it’s important to encourage teenage drivers to focus on the road and avoid any distractions. This extends to phones (which we’ll touch on later) as well as things on the road.
Don’t let them be distracted by common things on the road, such as accidents or construction. Make sure they’re always paying attention to the road in front of them and the other cars on the road.
3. Use Headlights
A key indicator of a good driver is using the headlights correctly. This means using turn signals at all times and turning on headlights when it gets dark. If your teen is driving at night, remind them to use headlights and blinkers.
This goes without saying, but reminding your teenage drivers to put their seatbelts on is crucial. Whether they’re driving 25 miles or just one, it’s important that the seatbelts are on at all times.
Seatbelts save thousands of drivers from potential fatalities, and they’ll surely keep your teens safe. Plus, on the off chance that they’re pulled over, having a seatbelt off can end in a costly ticket.
5. Turn Phone Off
This might be hard for your teenagers to do, but it’s no less important to keep phones on silent or completely off and away while driving. There’s nothing more potentially dangerous than a phone going off while driving.
A teenager might get a phone call while at the wheel or even try to text someone while waiting at a stoplight. This means they’re prone to be distracted, which compromises their safety.
Getting them to turn their phones off is tough, but it’s important that they know how not to distract themselves on the road. Encourage them to keep their phones off their hands while driving.
6. Watch the Speed Limit
Speed limits are there for a reason, and it’s a good idea for teen drivers to abide by them at all times. You never know when a police officer is watching you, and nothing is ever worth a ticket.
Tickets aside, speed limits keep your teenage drivers safe. Keeping within the speed limit reduces their chance of an accident. This is doubly important for drivers who are new to driving on their own.
7. NEVER Drink and Drive
This can’t be stressed enough. While it’s hard to imagine your teens driving under the influence, it’s still a common reason for many accidents. Why take a chance when you don’t need to?
Remind your teenage driver to remain above the influence. An accident is never worth it, and they should just stay away from the wheel if they’re inebriated in any way.
8. Start GPS Before Driving
A lot of people, not just teenagers, use their phones as GPS devices. While there’s nothing wrong with doing so for teenagers, it’s important that they set their location before turning the ignition key.
This is because trying to set a location while moving a car is extremely dangerous. Teenagers might bump into something, or worse yet, someone.
Teach them to check their GPS settings, put in the requisite address, prop their phones up properly, and then start driving. There’s no point in risking their safety by clumsily setting the GPS after the car’s started.
9. Control Passenger Numbers
If your teen driver isn’t used to driving more than their parents, it’s probably not the best idea to have them drive an entire group of friends. When possible, have them keep to two passengers at most as they start out.
A lot of passengers might lead to distractions, especially if it’s a group of friends. Encourage your teens to drive by themselves whenever they can and avoid groups of more than two or three.
10. Avoid Eating
Eating while driving doesn’t necessarily mean trouble, but it does increase the risk of an accident. What if something is spilled or gets on your teens’ clothes? That could lead to a distracted driver.
As such, discouraging eating while driving is one of the key safe driving habits for teens. Understand that they can just eat before or after the car ride and that there’s no need to rush.
11. Find Graduated Licensing Programs
Sometimes a regular driving course might not be enough, especially if your teens are slated to drive on busier roads. Find a graduated licensing program to set them up for success, or create your own driving courses for teens.
12. Rest When Tired
If your teens end up driving late at night, they risk the potential of falling asleep at the wheel. While they should avoid late-night driving altogether, it’s okay to let them pull over and rest if that ends up being the case.
Understanding Teen Driving Safety
When it comes to tips for newly licensed drivers, it’s important to talk to your teenage kids and help them understand why safety is so important. Use this guide to help you navigate this important part of your teens’ lives.
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