As a parent, it can be hard to feel at peace when your teen takes the car. You know that driving can be dangerous, but not letting your teen drive to protect them is not the best option. Your teen needs to drive eventually for different reasons, and it would be unfair to prohibit them from driving. However, you can avoid them getting into an accident by setting an example and informing them of the dangerous driving habits and their consequences.
Information is key
Your teen does not have the same maturity, experience or driving skills as an adult. That is why you must talk to them and inform them of what driving habits are dangerous or illegal. If you tell them about the consequences, they’ll be able to make better decisions and avoid doing something that can put them at risk or in trouble. The main things you should talk to them about are:
Using the cell phone
In 2019 there were more than 1,000 crashes caused by cell phone usage in New Jersey. Using the phone while driving is one of the major causes of crashes, and your teen must know that. To make them have a better understanding of how dangerous this can be, tell them that looking at the cellphone’s screen is the same as driving the length of an entire football field with the eyes closed. Also, advise them always to wait until they reach their destination to reply to a message, no matter how urgent it is.
Drunk driving and drugs
Your teen is not legally allowed to drink or do drugs, but they may get their hands upon one of these substances one day. Because of this, it is better to inform them in advance about the dangers of driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Let them know that that is not acceptable for anyone, no matter their age. Explain to them how alcohol and drugs can impair one’s mind and make a person lose control of the vehicle.
It is normal for teens to want to experiment with the car. Usually, the first thing they want to discover is how fast the car can go. Because of this, you must let your teen know that speeding not only can result in a deadly crash but that it is also an illegal practice.
Keep a caring and patient attitude when you address these things with them. A good way to make them understand these problems is by telling them real stories about teens who have gotten into serious accidents for being careless. Teens can relate better to other teens.
Set the example
Informing them about the dangers would not be useful if they see that you act differently than what you say. The best way to teach them about responsible driving is by being a responsible driver yourself. Be a good role model and take every opportunity you can to teach them about different driving topics.
Because you care
You cannot prevent your child from ever using the car. Still, you can keep them safe by setting a good example and informing them of the different dangerous driving habits. You may not think this, but you have a big influence over them, and they will listen to you if you talk to them with care and understanding. A simple talk can do wonders and, ultimately, save your teen’s life.