Teen Driver Safety: Setting Ground Rules

You’ve spent years protecting your children from dangers on and off the road, but it’s almost time for them to start driving on their own. How can you help your teen learn how to drive safely? Keep reading for tips to make the transition easier for both of you!

Set Guidelines

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a special Teen Driving site as a resource for parents; it includes each state’s driver’s license requirements and ideas to help you create ground rules for your new driver.

For example, you might talk to your teen about not driving at night or restricting the number of passengers in the vehicle. Other good rules to consider based on crash statistics are not driving while using an electronic device, always wearing a seat belt, and obeying speed limits. Talk to them about the dangers of driving while impaired. Establishing ground rules with your teen can help you both feel more comfortable when they get behind the wheel.

Avoid Driving While Distracted

Distracted driving is a major issue, and it’s even more risky when you’re still learning how to handle driving. Teens learn from you, so make sure you’re modeling appropriate behavior while driving by staying focused, alert, and not looking at your phone.

One in three teens who text say they’ve texted while driving. Texting while driving increases the risk of crashing by 23 times. Being distracted by talking or texting on the phone keeps drivers from focusing on the task of driving and decreases their ability to react to roadway hazards, incidents, or weather conditions. Eating or applying makeup while driving is also distracting, as are passengers.

Driving is a skill that requires full attention. Talk to your teen about using technology to help prevent distractions. For example, they could set their device to driving mode or silence notifications while in the vehicle.

Slow Down and Wear Your Seat Belt

Speeding was a factor in 32% of passenger vehicle teen drivers (15-18 years old) involved in fatal crashes in 2021, according to NHTSA. Teach teens to avoid speeding and be especially aware of speed in bad weather and unfamiliar road conditions.

Seat belt use is lowest among teen drivers, but buckling up is important. It’s the law, after all, and it’s in place for a reason. In 2021, over half of the teen drivers who died in vehicle crashes weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Help your teen understand that seat belts prevent ejection from a vehicle and explain that they need to be worn every time they get into a vehicle. It’s dangerous and reckless to ride in a car without buckling up, and the consequences can be fatal. Always wear your own seatbelt and remind your teen to buckle up.

If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.