Your Teen Behind the Wheel

Teenagers are dangerous enough when they’re on solid ground. Imagine what kind of havoc they can wreak at 45 mph! To calm your (and their) nerves, follow these tips on how to prepare your teen for his summer driving.

The freedom of the open road is exciting, but sometimes it can lead to reckless driving, especially among teens. Vehicle accidents are unfortunately the number one cause of death among teenagers. With this in mind, it is important to learn how you can prepare your teenager and his or her vehicle for a safe summer.

  1. Make sure the driver and all passengers wear seatbelts. In most states, law requires seat belt usage because of its effectiveness.
  2. Check the status of the car battery. If it is an older car, it might require a battery repair or an entirely new one. It is also a good idea to supply your teenager with a set of batter cables and proper instruction on how to jump-start a car.
  3. While it may sound insignificant, the quality of the vehicle’s windshield wipers is crucial to safe driving. Ask anyone who has dealt with faulty wipers during a storm- or even a sprinkle. Having a blurred vision is a hazard to the driver’s safety, as well as to others on the road.
  4. Make sure your teen is aware of the dangers that come from texting while driving. While he or she may feel invincible, the reality is that driving is a privilege that requires full attention. Losing focus can result in a horrible, even fatal, accident. Even talking on the phone can often be a major distraction, and in some states it is illegal for minors to do so behind the wheel. If you are concerned with not being able to communicate to your teen while he is in transit, consider setting this rule: if someone calls once, let it go to voicemail. If someone calls twice in a row, code for “important,” find a place to pull the vehicle over and return the call.

Whether it’s a drive across town to his summer job or a road trip across the state to visit friends, your teen’s experience behind the wheel should be taken seriously, and with absolute caution. A confident driver is a steadier driver, so give him the freedom he desires and the rules he needs to have a fun, safe summer.