Teen Safe Driving

Helping Your Teen Become a Smart Driver

As a parent, you ultimately want your child to be well-trained to tackle life's challenges. Learning to drive is part of that training, and it's important that parents play an active role in the process. The following is a variety of information that can help you:

  • Talk to your teen early and often. Discuss the risks and responsibilities of driving with your child at a young age and keep talking to your teen before, during and after the licensing process. This discussion should have the same - or even higher priority level - as discussing sex and drugs.
  • Don't rush the training process. Just because teens have a permit or license, doesn't mean they are ready for every driving condition. By easing into the training process, such as practicing in parking lots and side streets instead of busy highways, you'll help ensure you and your teen will be ready for any situation.
  • Understand your state's laws. Every state has graduated driver licensing to help new drivers get their initial on-the-road driving experience under lower-risk conditions, protecting them while they are learning. Familiarize yourself and your teen with these requirements, and establish your own rules for when, where, how and with whom your teen may drive by creating a Parent-Teen Driving Contract. Even after receiving their license, some teens are not prepared to drive on their own - only you can decide when your teen is ready to drive without adult supervision.
  • Empower your teen. Being a passenger in another teen's car can put your teen at risk. Peer pressure among teens can be both positive and negative. Make sure your teen knows it's okay to say something if uncomfortable while riding with a friend and help her practice what to say in these situations. Although you can't be with your teen at all times, you can say how important it is that your teen speaks up in dangerous situations.
  • Practice what you preach. Be a positive role model when you're behind the wheel. Your teen is more likely to be a calm and courteous driver, wear a seat belt and follow the rules of the road if they see you do the same.