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Are you feeling a bit nervous about your teenager getting behind the wheel? If you are like most parents, the thought of your child starting to drive can be a nerve-wracking experience – and for good reason. The unfortunate reality is that thousands of teenagers are involved in traffic-related accidents every year, many of which are fatal. Therefore, in order to keep your teenager as safe as possible while on the road, there are several things you should keep in mind.
Be a Positive Role Model
Whether you realize it or not, you are a role model to your teen driver. He or she will learn a great deal by watching you and how you handle yourself on the road, so be certain to obey traffic laws and to squelch the road rage while driving. You should also be diligent about wearing your seatbelt and be insistent that your teen does the same.
Provide Supervised Opportunities for Experience
As your teen learns to drive, it is important for you to take an active role in the experience. Make it a point to ride with your teen as he or she drives in a variety of different situation, including heavy traffic conditions and inclement conditions. You should also put your teen driver in various situations that will further test his or her driving skills, such as driving at night, driving in an urban setting and driving in a rural setting. Ideally, you should provide your teen with at least six months of supervised driving experience before you let him or her go alone.
Place Restrictions on Driving
In order to keep your teen safe, you should also put certain driving restrictions in place. For example, even if your state doesn’t require it, you should place restrictions on the number of passengers your teen driver can have. Not only do passengers cause a distraction, but teen drivers also tend to take more risks when they are carrying other teenage passengers.
Restrictions should also be placed on cell phone use. Some states and municipalities have laws against using cell phones while driving, but you should place your own restrictions on their use whether it is against the law or not. Make it clear that cell phones are meant for emergencies only and shouldn’t be used while driving.
Finally, restrict how frequently your teen drives during the nighttime hours. According to statistics, the majority of teen auto accidents take place between 9:00 pm and midnight. To prevent your teen from becoming a statistic, restrict driving to daytime hours while he or she learns how to drive and then gradually allow nighttime driving as your teen becomes a more experienced driver.