Once your teenager has a license and it’s time for them to start driving on their own, it’s natural to be nervous. That’s why it’s important to have conversations with them and teach them polite and proper driving etiquette before they pass their test and get out on the open road. If you are a concerned parent who is still unsure whether your teenager is ready to drive solo or not, here are a few tips that you can use to get your teenager to be fully prepared behind the wheel and give you some peace of mind. 


Teach them what is safe while driving


Don’t wait until your teen is asking for the keys to have a serious discussion about safe driving. They might have taken driving lessons in the past, but it’s important that you make sure that your child understands all the road rules and recognizes the importance of following them. 


They should always have their license on them


Another thing to discuss with your teenager is the importance of always carrying their driver’s license with them, whether it is their learner’s permit or their actual drivers license. In the case that they are pulled over, it is required for them to have proof of insurance and identification. A teen who only has a learner’s permit should not be driving on their own, they must have someone over the age of 18 with them at all times in the passenger seat.


Set strict boundaries


It is very important to talk about safety with your kids before allowing them to drive on their own and establishing clear ground rules is a great way to start. This is an essential component that you, as the authority figure, must ascert from the very start of your teenagers’ driving experience. For example, one of the most common ground roles is insisting that your son or daughter keeps both hands on the wheel at all times at hand positions “9 and 3” (this has changed from the “10 and 2” you probably learned growing up). This habit prevents them from being on their phone while they drive and will help them understand how deadly a distracted driver is on the road. Other rules to establish are wearing their seat belt at all times and not playing the music at full blast so that they can hear their surroundings. Simple and consistent practice of these rules and habits can put your mind at ease. 


Warn them about distracted drivers


Make your teenager aware that there are people who may text, drink, or simply not pay attention while driving. While this behavior is unacceptable and extremely dangerous, it is important for your teenager to understand so they can be aware and drive safely. 


Discuss what to do in an emergency


Explain the steps to take in the event of an accident. These steps should start by pulling over somewhere safe, remaining in the car, contacting the police, and exchanging information with the other driver only when it is safe to do so. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in the car that includes a first aid kit and starter cables, just in case! It is important to let them know that accidents can happen to everyone, sometimes at no fault of their own, but we can all do our best to prevent them. Maybe even speak about some of your own experiences so that they have some insight of what to do if a similar situation happens to them.


Teach everyone the importance of remaining calm to help the driver be safe


Learning how to drive for the first time can be overwhelming, that’s why it’s so important to stay calm as you teach your child the ways of the road. Try to build a conversation with your child as they practice safe driving with you. Having a small conversation not only allows your child to better articulate and develop their concentration skills, but it also allows them to build their confidence as a driver. Encourage them to develop their driving skills at their own pace and correct them calmly when needed. 


Set a good example


Focus on setting a good example for your teen when it comes to your own driving. When your teen is in the car with you, use the habits and techniques you’ve discussed and talk about why you drive the way you do. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children learn most of their driving behavior by watching their parents. 


Keep in mind that at the end of the day you want to encourage your teenager to make their own sensible decisions based on road rules, traffic conditions, and other important factors as one day you won’t be in the passenger seat to tell them exactly what to do.


Your insurance agent can provide you with additional safety information and tips to offer your teen as they get used to driving along. If you’re looking for reliable auto insurance and high-quality service, call us today for a quote!