When the teens in your home reach the age where they can take driver’s ed and get a license, you’re no doubt beside yourself with worry, no matter how much you trust them to behave in a safe and responsible manner. After all, they don’t necessarily have the experience to anticipate the errors of other drivers, even if they are extremely cautious themselves. That said, you can do a lot as a parent to decrease the likelihood of an accident when your teens get behind the wheel of a car. Here are just a few safe driving rules you can implement to make sure the teens in your household understand the sort of behavior you expect and the gravity of operating a motor vehicle in general.
- No friends in the car. This rule will not be easy to enforce since your teens will certainly face peer pressure to provide rides for carless friends. But as you can imagine, having other teens in the car can be a huge distraction. Even if your teen is a safe and cautious driver, having friends in the car talking, fiddling with the radio, and trying to backseat drive can lead to accidents. So let your teens know that having friends in the car will result in the revocation of their driving privileges.
- Restrictions on stereo volume. Teens like to play their music loud, whether they’re at home, using headphones, or cruising in the car. But singing along to their favorite songs can be just as distracting as having friends in the car. Luckily, there are options (like the Ford MyKey system) that allow parents to set speed and volume controls in a vehicle based on the key that is in the ignition. So if you don’t trust your teens to follow this rule, you can make sure they do.
- Avoid high-speed areas. You may want to make some areas off-limits to your teens, like high-crime or high-speed areas. Although they will eventually have to learn the ins and outs of freeway driving, you probably want to spend some time practicing with them before you allow them to hop on the highway. Again, the right products can allow you to limit the speed at which a vehicle travels. And thanks to mobile technology, you can also implement a system that alerts you (via call, text, or email, for example) when the car is driven outside of a set perimeter.
- The thought of your teens driving at night might cause you undue stress, but you still don’t want them out later than a city curfew (since they could be ticketed), and neither do you want them dealing with drunk drivers on the road when bars close. A strict curfew is therefor essential when setting rules for car usage.
- No drinking and driving. This seems pretty obvious, especially since teens are not yet old enough to legally purchase or imbibe alcohol. And yet, if driving safety is a top priority, you need to make this rule very clear. When professional drivers take gigs through sites, they are no doubt apprised of safe driver conduct – and they’re professionals! So you definitely want to make all of the rules clear to your teen drivers so that they know better than to plead ignorance.
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