3 Ways to Minimize the Risks with Teen Drivers

Oct. 15-22 is National Teen Driver Safety Week.
Setting a lifelong example to your student driver doesn't stop at the end of the driveway.

1. Set a good example.

Don’t be a distracted driver yourself. The first person to influence young drivers is the one they see driving all the time: their parents. Showing good habits behind the wheel, like avoiding electronic distractions, being courteous to other vehicles, obeying the speed limit, and following smart driving guidelines are all great ways to set the stage for teen driving success.

2. Wear your seatbelt.

Above all, wearing a seatbelt every time you’re in the vehicle, no matter if you’re a driver or passenger, is the best way to protect yourself should an accident happen.

“More than half (range: 53%-62%) of teens (13-19 years) and adults aged 20-44 years who died in crashes in 2016 were not buckled up at the time of the crash,” notes the CDC. [Read more from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on seatbelts: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812494]

3. Be a lifelong teacher to your student driver.

The AAA Foundation notes that parents are sometimes unsure how to be good driving instructors to their children. This isn’t for lack of knowledge, but instead, sometimes the education sessions can end once the young driver has obtained their license from the state. Instead, use those teen years as a chance to talk through teachable moments. There are plenty of new experiences and challenges for drivers, no matter their age, so make your young driver prepared for anything that might come down the road.

Share experiences with fellow parents, coworkers and friends who might be able to offer advice or help to keep teens safe. You can also make it clear what rules of the road you’ve agreed to with your teen. Tell your child’s friends how late you’ve agreed to let them out, how many friends they’re allowed to drive with and any other rules you’ve laid out for them. That way, they can help maintain safe practices without worry they’re ignorant of your wishes as a parent.

You might also consider a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement, such as this one available online.

“These kinds of agreements show teens there are consequences in actions,” says PayneWest agent Erika Close. “Teens must maintain good grades, put their phone in airplane mode, etc. And if they don’t, there are clear consequences to their actions.”