Teen Driver Safety
Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers
Did you know that half of all teens will be involved in a crash by the time they leave high school? It's true, and it's a scary reality for parents to face. But there are steps you can take to keep your teen drivers as safe as possible — even when you're not in the car with them.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way to ensure they're good drivers when you're not around is to start by making sure they're good when you are around. So, you should set aside a specific practice day each week — even after they get their license — so you can continue to provide feedback and keep an eye on how they're doing.
Just Say No
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agrees that one of the most important things you can do as a parent is limit your teen driver's distractions and risks. That means making sure they know that when they're behind the wheel, it's always no phone, no speeding and no drugs or alcohol.
Limit the Number of Passengers
Having just one teen passenger in the car increases your teen's risk of having an accident by 44%. And if that passenger is a sibling, the distractions could be even greater than if it's a friend. If possible, keep young passengers out of the car while your teen is driving for at least a year.
They Notice When You Buckle Up
Maybe they're not always great at listening to what you say, but your teens do notice what you do. In fact, research shows that parents who wear seatbelts have children who wear seatbelts — and, if your teen is in a crash, that seatbelt could make a life or death difference.
Know the Laws
Did you know that, in Michigan, teen drivers can be fined for using a phone while driving — even if it's hands-free — unless it's to report an accident, a crime or an emergency? Teen driving laws vary by state, but Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois all have specific Graduated Driver Licensing (or GDL) laws that your teen will need to work up through before gaining full driving privileges.
The Car Can Make All the Difference
You don't want to break the bank on your teen's first car — but you want to make sure you're keeping them as safe as possible. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety publishes a list of safe and affordable vehicles that can help you make the best choice for your child.
Put It in Writing
Make your teen commit to the safe driving rules you set by having them sign a contract—and make sure there are consequences when they don't follow the rules. You'll find a lot of contracts already written for you by searching online, or you can create your own.
Understand the Risks
One of the best ways to get your teen drivers off to a safe start is by discussing the risks with them. The numbers don't lie — car crashes are the #1 cause of teen death in the U.S. Download and print this infographic to help you talk to your teen about the dangers they'll face on the road.