Parenting Tips: Teen Drivers

Being the parent of a teenager is difficult, but the stress can grow when the teen turns 16. It's important to keep in mind that not all teens are ready to drive at age 16. And especially relevant to parents on the farm is that just because your teen helps out behind the wheel on the farm, doesn't make them ready to hit the road!

Driving is a privilege and just because your teen turns 16 doesn't mean they are ready to get behind the wheel of a car. It's tempting to rush them into driving because it makes life more convenient, but if they're not trustworthy, or mature enough to handle the responsibility, don't give in. Lots of kids aren't ready to drive until they're 17 or 18 years old. Now is the perfect time to teach them how to earn your trust (by being accountable, responsible and dependable). Here is some valuable information to note as your teenager becomes of driving age!

Tips and Advice to Consider

• Do not allow your teenager to drive with other passengers in the car until he or she is experienced behind the wheel.

• Phase in driving gradually, limit driving in less safe conditions at first. Limit nighttime driving.

• Do not allow your teenager to use a cell phone while driving. Explain the dangers of texting and driving.

• Set a good example, your teenager is watching your behavior behind the wheel.

• Make it clear that driving is a privilege. Even if your teenager has his/her own car, you are still in charge.

• Some parents choose to purchase a GPS tracking system which accurately determines where a driver has traveled, how fast they were driving, and where they have stopped and for how long.

• Check with your car insurance company about offered training, which can help prepare your teen for driving and lower your insurance rates.

• Using a Parent-Teen Driving Contract aids discussion on important issues, establishes rules and consequences and helps young drivers understand the responsibilities that go with driving.

Misconceptions

Parents have little influence over their teen's driving habits. On the contrary, parents have the greatest influence over their teen's driving habits, behaviors, and skills.

New SUVs are the safest cars for teen drivers. Although larger cars are safer for teen drivers, SUVs are not necessarily the safest.

Teens who are above-average students will be safe drivers. Studies have shown that there is no relationship between a teen's report card and their driving behavior.

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Operation Parent: Providing ongoing education, support and hope to those raising teens and preteens in today's culture.

related topics: parenting, teenagers, for mom, driving

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