3 Tips To Keep Your Teen Driver Safe While Keeping Your Sanity Intact  

Raising kids in today’s world sure looks different than it did when we were teens. Gone are the days when the street lights meant it was time to go home. Riding your bike or skateboard across town or rollerblading alone is a thing of the past. The advancement of technology has put dangerous material right at our kids’ fingertips. Let’s be real, parenting today is kinda scary.  

It seems everywhere we look, dangers await our children. We’re constantly bombarded with media accounts of all the ways in which our kids might find themselves in trouble. From dangerous social media challenges to school violence, to say parenting is stressful is an understatement. We’ve got enough on our plate to worry about, so when it comes time for your teen to get his or her license, it’s natural for that worry to expand. Here’s how you can ease your worry and protect your sanity just a little bit longer! 

Put Safety First  

Learning to drive is perhaps the single most exciting phase of transition to adulthood. It’s a rite of passage. A symbol of impending freedom. But, for parents of teens, it’s sure to bring even the calmest of us to the brink of sanity. And, without the proper knowledge of road safety, it can be dangerous. Teaching your teen how to practice safe driving is crucial and you shouldn’t rely on the driver’s ed program to teach them everything.  

Talk to your kids about the importance of using their seatbelt, putting their phone down while driving, paying attention to their surroundings, and avoiding driving under the influence. There’s a reason the process for acquiring a license has changed over the last 20 years. We’ve definitely become smarter in our approach to teen driving and it was born out of necessity.  

According to the CDC, teen drivers are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than drivers over the age of 20. It’s no secret that inexperience leads to poor decisions and we all know that our teens aren’t the best decision-makers to begin with. Take the time to discuss safe driving with your teen. It could literally mean life or death.  

Talk About The Dangers of Distracted Driving 

While there are certainly lots of areas to cover when teaching your child to drive, absolutely, under no circumstances, should you avoid talking about the risks. Sure, you drill them about the dangers of distracted driving and you tell them over and over how unsafe it is to drink and drive, and yet, 24% of fatal crashes among drivers aged 15-20 involved alcohol. That’s 1 in 4 teens killed as a result of the driver drinking behind the wheel. That’s pretty terrifying. And completely avoidable.  

 So, don’t just tell your kids to drive safe, sit down with them and really, really explain the dangers of distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and speeding. Talk to them with care and concern and explain just how dangerous those activities are to themselves and those around them. There’s no right way to do it but not doing it at all is definitely the wrong way. It’s a scary enough world out there without having to worry about your teen’s safety behind the wheel.  

Don’t Forget Financial Risk 

Speaking of accidents, did you know that when you add a licensed teen to your insurance policy, your rate increases? While it’s important to shop for insurance with the lowest rates for teen drivers, it’s just as important to explain to them what happens to your rate should they find themselves in a fender bender or with a moving violation, like speeding or not wearing a seatbelt.  

Sit down with them and show them the numbers. Perhaps even make them responsible for their portion of the insurance. If they mess up and your rate increases, well let them feel the impact in their own pocketbook. If it’s one thing teens enjoy, it’s having money so if they know it will hit them where it hurts, they might think twice before they respond to that text on their way to school.  

It also doesn’t hurt to explain the long-term financial ramifications of careless driving. Racking up tickets as a young driver will make it difficult to find affordable insurance as an adult. In some cases, they might find themselves in such a high-risk category that it will interfere with gainful employment. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the financial woes your teen driver might experience. Tickets are costly and in the unfortunate event they find themselves responsible for harming another party, you see where this is going.   

So, do yourself and your teen a favor and have these discussions before they even step foot behind the wheel. After all, there’s a high price to pay for not doing so.  

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