Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are at the highest risk of getting into a car accident, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and you may have concerns about your teen getting behind the wheel for this reason. Having a new driver can be one of the most worrisome experiences as a parent, especially since the risk of car accidents is so high.
There are some steps you can take as a parent to protect your teen driver and help him or her stay safe on the road. The following guidelines can help you go beyond the state of Illinois’ Graduated Driver Licensing Program to help your teen stay safe.
- Lead by example
Your teenager will learn a significant amount about driving from you, regardless of whether you think he or she is watching. When you drive, always make sure to wear your seat belt, put down your phone and follow the rules of the road.
- Practice with your teen
Private driving instruction and driver’s education programs can provide your teen with a decent amount of driving practice, but you should continue to practice driving with your teen beyond these courses. The more your teenager practices, the better a driver he or she will become.
- Set rules
Set up a series of driving rules your teen has to follow and extend driving privileges as he or she progresses. The CDC suggests creating a parent-teen driving agreement that spells out the rules of the road, any additional rules you believe are necessary and the consequences of breaking them. After your teen signs this agreement, place it somewhere prominent so your teen sees it frequently.
- Manage your child’s trips
Letting your teen drive around for fun can promote risky and unsafe driving behaviors. Every time your teen drives, enhance his or her safety by discussing the destination, the route, the time of day and what he or she should do if an emergency arises.