Learning to drive for the first time is an exciting event for the average teenager. Getting the keys to their car gives them unprecedented freedom. Along with that freedom comes a great deal of responsibility, which is why you must instill car safety practices into them. Make sure your kids are ready to hit the road responsibly by using these tips to talk to them about driving safely.
Your teenager is likely very excited about driving, and you’ll probably be excited for them. However, be honest with them about the consequences of being negligent. As of January 2002, teens arrested on criminal charges have the same legal counsel as adults and face similar punishment. In other words, if they decide to drink and drive while underage and end up causing an accident, they could ruin their life before it gets started. They should be aware that using social media or texting while driving could have harsh consequences that can change someone’s life forever or end it.
Talk Early On
Whatever you do, don’t wait until something happens to have this important discussion with your child. The minute they start their driving course, talk to them about the pros and cons of driving and the safety precautions they should use. When driving in the car with them, start pointing out to them some of the safety practices you use to stay safe on the road. Show them how you use your seat belt or turn signals, don’t eat while driving, and pull over if you must take a call. You can also have scheduled sit-down chats with them while they’re learning so they can ask you questions.
Show Support and Empathy
As a parent, don’t forget there was a time when you were in your teenager’s shoes. Learning how to drive may have been an easy or tough process for you. So try to show as much support as possible and be empathetic with them during this time. Don’t lose patience just because they may take a little longer to understand the rules on how to maneuver a car than you did.
Teach About Surroundings
Make sure your driving teen understands they should always be aware of their surroundings, whether walking down a street, driving in a car, or moving around a parking lot. Talk about how to safely park and avoid doing so in poorly lit areas, especially at night. With so much development constantly going on, there’s a lot of construction any driver should be aware of. So much so, that the American Rental Association has stated that the construction industry is renting equipment at an all-time high level. As many as 93% of respondents have reported renting construction equipment for their projects.
When your teenager is driving and unaware of construction signs or how to maneuver around them, they may easily get into an accident that damages the car or a construction site. In addition to understanding how to maneuver around work sites, they should know to slow down during various weather conditions, keep up with traffic updates, and more.
Discuss Car Maintenance
Car safety goes beyond driving. Emphasize the importance of keeping your car tuned up and handling repairs. Talk to them about the value of an engine, proper tire tread, brake pedals, and so on. According to AutoDeal, there are turbocharged engines that are 10% more fuel-efficient than an identical power plant. Discuss how fuel efficiency not only makes it easier to get from one place to another but can also benefit the environment.
Car safety is important for anyone who drives. The sooner your growing teenager understands how to maneuver a vehicle, or handle maintenance, the easier it’ll be for them going forward. So be patient and supportive as you help them learn this vital life skill.