How to Teach Your Teen Road Safety

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If your teen is almost ready to drive, you’re probably thinking a lot about road safety for new drivers, and for good reason, too: Young drivers are much more likely to crash and be killed in a car accident.

This means properly equipping your child with the right knowledge of road safety can be the difference between life and death.

In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Driving safety tips to give to your teen.
  • What you should teach your teen during Driver's Ed.
  • What to keep in mind while teaching your teen road safety.

If you want to learn more about Driver’s Ed, read our related article Parent’s Guide to Driver’s Ed.

Road Safety Tips for New Drivers

For many parents, road safety is top of mind when teaching their teen how to drive.

Here are some tips/rules you can give your teen before they start driving:

  • Put on your seatbelt.
    This should be a no-brainer today, but always remind your teen to wear their seatbelt. They may not want to do it because they don’t think it’s cool or they don’t think they have to, but seat belts save lives every day.
  • Put away distractions.
    Make sure to explain to your teen how dangerous distractions can be while driving. This includes being on a phone or other electronic devices, eating, putting on makeup, and more.
  • Stick to the speed limit.
    Speed limits are posted for a reason. Not only will following them make you safer, but it also means you won’t get any expensive tickets.
  • Check your blind spots.
    This is something new drivers often forget to do. Make sure you explain what blind spots are and remind your teen driver to check them frequently.
  • Avoid other’s blind spots.
    This is something that some adult drivers don’t even do, but you should get your teen in the good habit of practicing. Teach them to recognize other drivers’ blind spots and avoid them for added safety.
  • Use your headlights.
    Remind your teen to turn on their headlights whenever the light is low, or the weather is inclement to increase visibility.
  • Don’t drive tired.
    Driving tired is actually a leading cause of car crashes. So, remind your teen to get plenty of sleep before hopping behind the wheel.

In addition to these tips, you’ll want to teach your child some driving basics that might take a little more practice and guidance, which we’ll go over next.

Teaching Road Safety

One thing that every parent should know about teen drivers is that they’ll be looking to you for guidance.

Some of the things you should teach your child include:

  • How to use the car system, such as shifting gears, washing the windshield, and adjusting the mirrors.
  • Local laws and safety guidelines, especially those for new drivers.
  • How to park, both in a parking lot and parallel parking on the street.
  • Driving defensively, which is the act of driving as if other drivers are oblivious to your own safety. This is a good method to teach your teen, and will keep them one step ahead if a dicey situation arises out on the road.
  • Right of way and how to know who has it on moving roadways and at stoplights.

But there are more things to remember than just what to teach your teen: You’ll also have to remember the following best practices for how to best teach your new driver.

Best Teaching Practices

When teaching your teen about road safety, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.

First, do what you can to keep your emotions in check. It will prevent you from blowing up if you get mad while teaching your child, and will also allow you to be present in case your teen begins to panic behind the wheel.

Also, try to expose your teen to a wide range of skills and driving environments. This means venturing outside the neighborhood to drive in the city, rural areas, on the highway, and more. In addition to the changing scenery, you’ll also be teaching them how to drive under different conditions, which will make them a much more comfortable and competent driver in the future.

You also need to prepare for your role. In addition to asking yourself if your teen is ready to drive, you should also ask yourself if you’re ready to teach your teen to drive. You can prepare by reading about your state’s laws and requirements to obtain a driver’s license. Some states even offer classes to teach parents how to share driving knowledge with their kids.

Then, remember to be a good role model and implement the above suggestions. Do this, and your teen driver will be on the road to success.

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