Back to school season is just around the corner. Do you have a teenager in your life who’s planning on driving to and from school this year? Whether it’s their first year driving with a permit or they’re already a fully licensed driver, we know having your young loved one on the road can be scary. Through their newly acquired independence, it’s important that we teach them safe driving habits.
4 Safe Driving Habits To Help Your Teen Driver
Model Safe Driving
If you have a teenage passenger, you might not realize that something so second-nature as your driving habits will have an impact on them. If you’re a parent, you’re aware that your kids often take after your behavior, whether it’s good or bad. So try to catch your bad habits at the wheel, stay off of your phone, don’t speed, wear a seat belt, and try to keep that road rage in check. If your young driver sees your safe driving, hopefully they’ll follow your lead.
Watch Phone Usage
We all know that no driver should be using their phone at the wheel, so it’s crucial to remind teen drivers that cell phone usage is one of the leading causes of distracted driving crashes. Nowadays, we have to admit that everyone is a little attached to their phones, so we know the temptation to have your phone near at all times is hard to resist. It can be helpful to have it out of sight and out of reach, so you could try to encourage good habits like putting the phone in the backseat or the glovebox while the car is in motion. This might even be a good tip to try to include in your commute, too!
If there’s anything that screams ‘teenage years’, it’s a car packed full of talkative teens blaring their music. While we have to admit that we’ve been there, done that, and had a lot of fun, so many things going on in the vehicle can be incredibly distracting for new drivers. The crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers increases with every additional teen passenger, according to the CDC. Here in Iowa, 14 ½ year old drivers who have fulfilled requirements can apply for a Minor School License, allowing them to drive to and from school and school activities, which includes a passenger restriction on the license. These drivers can only drive one minor in their car who is not a relative. When your teenager moves onto their Intermediate License, you can also choose to continue this restriction for the first six months that they have their license. Beyond license restrictions, it’s a good idea to have a talk with your child regarding your expectations for the passengers in their car.
Night Driving Limits
On top of passengers, driving after dark also poses a risk for young drivers. We know that a lot of fatal accidents occur late at night, due to low visibility in the dark. This can be challenging for teens who don’t have much driving experience, so putting a limit on how late your teen can be driving might be a good conversation to have. Like passenger limits, the state of Iowa also puts curfews on certain licenses. Minor School Licenses allow driving from 5am to 10pm, while Intermediate Licenses allow driving from 5am to 12:30am without a waiver for work or school.
Keep yourself and your young drivers safe by remembering to form these safe driving habits.