It can feel like just yesterday your child was in diapers and splashing around in puddles for fun. But now your teen is almost 16, almost through with their orthodontic treatment, and ready to start learning how to drive. While it’s normal to feel a healthy dose of anxiety about this, there’s no need to panic. In fact, instead of panicking, here are a few essential car safety tips you should teach your teen as they learn to drive.
Follow the Speed Limit
Speed limit laws are put in place for a reason. While an AC Cobra Coupe famously reached almost 186 MPH in 1964, there’s no need to go that fast in this day and age. Not only is it dangerous to do so, but exceeding speed limits could actually cost you money. It might be a little bit faster to drive over the speed limit, but the cost to the car will be poor gas mileage. And when your teen is driving, they’re buying their own gas. Safety is also a key concern here. Following the posted speed limit is the safest way to get from point A to point B. So make sure your teen knows that no matter how late they might be, it’s not worth risking their safety or anyone else’s to get somewhere a few minutes early.
Turn Signals Are Not For You
Turn signals are another key safety feature on a car. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t believe it’s important to use them. When you’re teaching your teen to drive, it’s important to impress upon them that turn signals don’t only protect them. In fact, turn signals are designed to let other drivers know which way you’re doing so they don’t crash into you! Learning how and when to use turn signals is an incredibly important part of learning how to drive. Make sure your teen has this knowledge!
Never Drink and Drive
Driving under the influence is not only incredibly dangerous and irresponsible, but it’s also a serious offense. Add that to a charge of underage drinking and your teen could be in some serious legal trouble. DUI procedures vary from state to state, so make sure you relay all of the information about your state to your teen driver. In California, drivers have 10 days to request a hearing for their charges. That’s not something you want your teen to have to deal with. That goes for when they’re with someone who has been drinking, as well. If they ever feel uncomfortable or know someone who’s been drinking is planning on driving them somewhere, make sure they know to call you for a ride.
Follow at a Safe Distance
In your life, there have probably been numerous instances where someone was following you too closely on the road. Whether the roads were rough or they were just speeding, it can be incredibly stressful to have to deal with that on the road. Not only that but following too closely is a major safety hazard. If your teen isn’t looking where they’re going or gets distracted, they could easily rear-end someone and get seriously hurt. So make sure your teen knows to follow other cars at a safe distance — about two or three car lengths is typically the average safe following distance.
The Phone Can Wait
Above all else, make sure your teen knows that their phone is off-limits while they’re driving. Distracted driving is one of the top causes of car accidents, and with smartphones growing more and more essential to daily life, it can feel impossible to put them down. That’s why it’s best for your teen to keep their smartphone turned off and our of sight while they’re in the car. If they need directions to get somewhere, it’s worth investing in a good GPS for their car so they can avoid using their phone.
Teaching your teen to drive can be a stressful experience, but it doesn’t have to be all panic. As long as you cover these basic safety tips with them, they should be ready to test their driving skills.