When it comes time to teach your teen how to drive, all you want as a parent is to guide them and help them understand the most important rules of the road. Of course, aside from basic driving instructions, all new drivers should also have a good concept of defensive driving techniques and tips to keep them safe.
Drivers under the age of 21 are about 5% of the driving population, and while that may not seem like a major proportion, helping drivers learn these essential techniques while they’re first getting behind the wheel is the key to turning them into a safe driver for life. Here are just a few of the most important safety and defensive driving techniques your teen should know.
Eyes on the Road
This is one of the most basic safety tips for all drivers, but it’s critical to emphasize its importance to teenage drivers specifically. Teens these days are consistently distracted by all types of technology, from smartphones to GPS systems to music stations. It’s also easy for teens to start to feel overconfident in their abilities even though they don’t have the experience to show for it. But the fact is, engaging in visual-manual subtasks (such as reaching for a phone, dialing, and texting) associated with the use of hand-held phones and other portable devices increases the risk of getting into a crash by three times. That being said, you need to be firm with your teen and get it through their heads that when they’re driving, their eyes should be on the road and on the road only.
Don’t Follow Too Closely
When humans get too close to each other things can get awkward, but when vehicles do it, it’s downright dangerous. There will inevitably be countless situations where your teen is driving during a busy time or down a congested highway. When following another car, they need to give them room and avoid following too closely. If the vehicle in front needs to come to a quick stop, cars following closely behind can easily rear-end them. With this tip comes being fully aware of the traffic that’s surrounding you.
“Always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you, and have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you in slower speeds, and maintain a larger buffer zone with faster speeds. Some car insurance companies will even give you a discount if you take an approved defensive driving course to improve your driving skills,” writes DMV.org.
Ultimately, understanding these tips can help make your teen a better and safer driver every time they hit the open road.