1. Follow the Safety Rules
Parents are the most important and effective roll models for children. Children understand when their parents drive too fast, cut someone off, or don’t completely stop for a traffic signal. They pay much more attention to the things their parents do. Following the traffic safety rules gives children a good example of how to drive safely. When it is their time to start driving, they will rely on the example their parents set for them.
2. Start Teaching Safety Young
A child may place special emphasis on lessons learned when they are young. While you are driving your children around, explain why you are driving the way you are. Point out that you stop completely for stop signs. Tell them why you are slowing down while driving in the rain. Explain to them why you are increasing the distance between your car and the car in front of you during bad weather. Follow up with them the next time the situation comes up by asking them why they think you are driving a certain way. Children will learn quickly and remember these lessons when they start driving.
3. Get Involved with Pre-License Education
Take a driver education course with your teenage driver. Many parents may not know the best ways to teach their teenage drivers. With education, a parent can help young drivers fully recognize and appreciate dangerous situations. Taking the course together will allow a parent to re-enforce the training in real-life situations.
4. Enter Into a Safety Contract and Continue Education
Have your teenage driver enter into a safety contract with you. The safety contract can detail the expectations you have for your young driver’s continued driving privilege. You can even include continued education as one of the contract’s items. For some examples, check out Driving Skills for Life, developed by Ford and the Governors Highway Safety Association or Checkpoints developed by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
5. Enforce Driver’s License Restrictions
One of the most effective safety initiatives in recent years is the graduated driver’s license program. While these programs restrict the situations that newly licensed driver’s can drive in, parents must enforce those restrictions. Although there is a risk that a driver will be caught by law enforcement, the most effective method of making sure teens follow the restrictions is for parents to enforce them.
6. Reward Good Driving
Anytime you witness good driving from your teen driver, reward them. Rewards can be praise, extra allowance, or later curfew. Use your imagination and reinforce good driving behavior.
Finally, monitor your teen’s driving. You can monitor with a GPS device, smartphone, or plug in hardware. Do a search for “monitor teenage driver” for more resources.