The leading cause of death for teenagers is car accidents. Actually, it’s not even a close contest, with motor vehicle accidents accounting for 41% of teen deaths. That can be a frightening thought for parents. Of course, you want your teen to enjoy the freedom that accompanies getting their license, but how can you make sure your teen stays safe?
–Download an app– There is a variety of smartphone applications that can help keep your teen off their phone while they’re behind the wheel. A free yet effective app is AT&T DriveMode, which silences incoming calls or message alerts with automatic replies when driving over 15MPH. There is also a parental control feature that alerts parents if their teen driver disables DriveMode on their phone. A list of similar apps and devices can be found here.
–Sign a contract– An effective practice for parents and teens is to lay down the ground rules by signing a written contract. Doing so provides a sense of accountability and provides a clear understanding of expectations. You can find this type of contract here.
–Select a vehicle– You may be limited in choosing which vehicle your teen drives. If there is flexibility in your choice, it is important to consider the vehicle’s safety rating. You can learn insights about how safe a certain vehicle is here.
-Teach basic maintenance– An often-overlooked aspect of teen driving safety is knowledge of simple car maintenance, such as changing a tire or checking oil levels. It may not be obvious at first how this knowledge can keep your teen safe, but consider the results of neglecting these lessons. Your teen could be put into harms way if their vehicle malfunctions because of low oil levels, or if they attempt to change a tire to close to the road.
–Show them the facts– Many teens don’t understand the responsibility that is placed on them when they drive. You can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to view the hard facts behind driving. This will help your teen understand the seriousness of driving.
–Enroll them in a driving safety course- Many safe driving practices can be learned before getting in the driver’s seat. Affordable online courses for both teen drivers and parents teaching their teens to drive can be found here.
–Hit the road– Nothing beats getting out on the road and gaining experience firsthand. Time spent with your teenager behind the wheel, while you are in the passenger seat is unarguably valuable.