If you have a young driver at home, you know how hard it is to keep them from behind the wheel. While they might have earned some new freedoms, the road can be a scary place for inexperienced drivers. Consider these tips to help them get home safely:
Add roadside assistance
It’s important your teen knows how to take care of a vehicle and perform basic maintenance tasks. But when you set your teen loose on the local roadways, consider sending them with a roadside assistance card. This could be from a dedicated organization, like AAA, or an add-on to your auto insurance policy.
Ask the car for help
Depending on the age of your vehicle, it’s possible your car has a system built in to help you monitor your teen’s driving, even when you’re not with them. For example, Ford’s MyKey® will let you cap how loud they can turn up the music, set a top speed limit, and stop phone messaging. Chevrolet Teen Driver Technology has an exclusive in-vehicle report card you can review with your child and includes information like how often advanced safety features were activated, and if they accelerate too quickly. Tools like these are popping up all over the automotive industry, so look and see if your vehicle has one.
Even experienced drivers know passengers can be huge distractions. They can get you so engrossed in a story you miss your turn or maneuver poorly. While your teen is driving, set a maximum number of people that can be in the car with them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests going so far as to ban passengers at all in their first six months with a license. Consider looking up the laws in your state as well, as many of them limit passengers by law.
Your young driver might think they’re invincible, but you know better. Explain to your teen that their attention on the road is important to keep everyone safe. That means they can’t be on their cell phone as they drive, and also should stay out of the driver’s seat if they’re impaired. While you might have already warned them about underage drinking and drugs, make sure they know driving drunk or high is illegal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has tools and statistics on its website to help you talk to your teen.
Watch from afar
If your vehicle isn’t up to the task of keeping your driver well-behaved, consider using their smartphones instead. Some apps, like Automatic, track your teen and detect things like speeding, when they arrive where they are going, and when they leave. The Mama Bear app goes another step further, tracking your teen’s phone and social media use when they’re driving so you know if they misbehave.
Your teen earning a driver’s license is a big step towards their future. With proper coaching and tough love from you, they’ll stay safe.