‘Mum, I just got my Driving License’ – A Teen Driver's Guide For Parents
When your son or daughter passes their driving test, it is a big milestone in their life and a fantastic achievement that should be celebrated. Teenagers will have a new sense of freedom and while all they are excited about is driving around with their friends, parents soon become concerned with all of the dangers out there on the road.
In fact, the first year of driving is one of the most dangerous times of your driving years and it can take a long time to gain the experience and confidence that you need to be safe on the road. Unfortunately, teen drivers are involved in car crashes more often that we care to think about and this is linked to being new drivers.
But this doesn’t mean that you should worry every time your son or daughter gets behind the wheel. It just means that you should speak to them about a few things they should know about before they head out onto the road.
We have created a teen driver's guide for parents that you should check out to make sure your child is safe when they are new drivers.
Buying Their First Car
The first thing that teen drivers think about when they have passed their test is when they are going to get their first car. A lot of parents help their son or daughter out by agreeing to buy their first car or at least help them choose one. In particular, it is common to choose a second-hand car or an older vehicle for a first car.
While it may be cheaper to choose an older vehicle as your child’s first car, it is important that you make sure that it is safe and reliable. This is not to say that every second-hand car is going to have problems, but it is essential that you check its history and read advertisements properly before buying it. Safety should always be a priority, so make sure you pay attention to the safety features it has and that it is in good condition when you buy it. You can even take it for a test drive at a car dealership to make sure that it feels right before you commit to the sale.
Teach About Maintenance
Your son or daughter will want to get out and go when they have passed their driving test. But, it is important to have a chat with your teen driver about car maintenance too. After all, a well-maintained car is going to be the safest on the road and prepared for any situation. Even teaching your child about how to put gas in the car and when they should fill up is essential. Other things to check off your list are talking about correct tire pressure and any icons and signals on the instrumental panel that may come up as an alert. You can even teach them how to change a tire in an emergency. Preparation is always key!
Warn About the Dangers of Drinking
We all know that we should never drink and drive. But, teenage drivers may need more reminding than adults. It is easy for teen drivers to overlook the real dangers of drinking and driving and the effects that alcohol can have on their vision and reaction time. That is why it is important to talk to your child about not drinking any alcohol and then getting behind the wheel. If they are going to a party, chat about if they want to be the person offering lifts to their friends or if they want to enjoy the party like everybody else. If they do want to have fun with their friends, you can offer to pick them up if they have had a drink. One of the main reasons that people get involved in car accidents is because they have been drinking. That is why it is best to never have anything, even if you are under the legal limit. Everyone reactions to alcohol differently; it is never worth the risk.
Advise on Peer Pressure
One of the first things that new teenage drivers will want to do is go exploring with their friends. While you want your kids to have fun, having friends in the car can become distracting. In particular, there is a risk that the friends will use peer pressure to get the driver to race or carry out risky manoeuvres on the road. This will put everybody’s safety at risk, which is the last thing that you want. So, perhaps you should make rules about driving with friends for the first few months until they become confident on the road. Plus, speak to them about the dangers of peer pressure and the importance of obeying the Highway Code at all times.
Teen drivers need to concentrate more on the roads since everything will be new. This means that your kids need to learn how to avoid distractions while they are behind the wheel. Talk to your son and daughter about the danger of using their mobile phone when they are driving. Perhaps a few months down the line when they are more confident, they can use a Bluetooth earpiece or learn how to use Siri Eyes Free if they have to make any phone calls while they are driving. In addition, playing music too loud can also be distracting, while eating or drinking means taking their hands off the wheel. Setting some ground rules from the beginning about avoiding distractions while driving can make sure your child is safe and that they understand the dangers that taking their eyes off the road can have.
Dealing with Stress Behind the Wheel
Let’s face it; it doesn’t matter how many years you have been driving for, it can be stressful behind the wheel. This is particularly true when it is busy and there is a lot of traffic on the road and it is easy to feel road rage getting the better of you at times. But, road rage can increase the risk of having an accident and it is important to have a chat with your son or daughter about the importance of keeping calm when they are driving. There are a few tips you can share with your child that will help them to stay relaxed behind the wheel. This includes planning their journey in advance so that you know where you are going and perhaps find an alternative route if there is traffic. If there are vehicles that are tailgating you and this is making you nervous, simply pull over and let them overtake. It is never worth overreacting or becoming pressured to speed in this kind of situation. In addition, it is best to let your child know that they should avoid using their horn in a stressful situation. This could make matters worse and it may be best to ignore what happened and move on.
Set a Curfew
Driving at night can be difficult for anybody that is not confident behind the wheel and this especially applies to new, teen drivers. Accidents are more likely to happen when it gets dark, as visibility is not as good. So, to avoid any accidents on the road that could have been avoided, it is best to set a curfew for your son or daughter when they are out driving. This can make sure that they are driving in conditions they are used to and daylight hours will be much safer for everyone.
Extra Practice on the Roads
There is no such thing as too much driving practice. While your son or daughter has passed their official driving test and they are legally allowed to be out on the road by themselves, it doesn’t mean that they have to. You can go driving with them for you both to feel more confident and this can mean that you can relax when they are out by themselves later on. In addition, you can recommend the extra courses that are available to drivers that offer more training out on the road with a professional.
Consider Black Box Insurance
If you are worried about how your son or daughter may be driving when you are not there, you should consider black box insurance. Having a black box fitted will allow the insurance company to monitor their driving, such as if they are abiding by the speed limit and driving safely. This can give you the peace of mind that they will stick to the rules, otherwise they will be penalised in insurance. Alternatively, black box insurance can also lower the cost of a new driver’s insurance, which acts as a reward for driving responsibly.