All parents want their teenagers to thrive as they inch closer to adulthood. Driving is one big leap forward that's sure to make any mom or dad at least a little nervous. From the time your teenagers get a driver's permit and you add them to your auto insurance, you need to establish clear rules of the road.
According to AAA, crash rates for teenagers are higher than rates in any other age group. That's a sobering statistic, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that factors like not using seatbelts and reckless driving can put teens at increased risk. Set clear rules and enforce them with your teen drivers to protect their safety.
Make Clear, Simple Rules
When you are making safe-driving rules, keep things simple and direct. For example, no teenager should ever be texting and driving. Write the rule simply: Absolutely no texting while driving.
The Federal Communications Commission reports that more than 8 people are killed and over 1,100 people are injured daily because of distracted driving. Texting while driving appears to be most popular among teenagers. Point teens towards statistics on the dangers, but clear rules help teens know what they need to do.
Customize the Rules for the Specific Needs of Your Teen
You know your teenagers better than anyone, so you may choose to set some rules that apply specifically to their unique situations. Many driving rules will universally apply to all teen drivers, but some will need to be applied only to some teenagers.
For example, if your teenagers only had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a car during the day while they were learning to drive, make it a rule that they can't drive when the sun is down until you can supervise their night driving for a certain number of hours.
If your teens are on any medications, be sure to read any driving warnings on them and set rules accordingly.
Establish a Zero-Tolerance Policy for the Most Important Rules
Decide what the most important rules for your teen drivers are. Once you do that, communicate their importance to your teenagers and set a zero-tolerance policy for breaking them. In other words, if your teens break those rules, take away their driving privileges for a certain amount of time that you establish in advance.
You may also tie in additional punishments such as a loss of other privileges. Teens need to understand that the real-world consequences for irresponsible driving can be life or death. Nevertheless, setting strict rules with irrefutable consequences for their world can keep them on track even if they don't grasp the bigger picture of safe driving yet.
Encourage and Reward Good Behavior
Being a good driver is not all about fearing negative consequences for messing up. As an adult, you are probably aware of the peace of mind that comes from making wise choices on the road. However, teenagers can often use a little extra incentive.
Offer big rewards for following all the rules and being a responsible driver for a certain time frame. For example, for every six consecutive months that your teenagers meet your expectations for responsible driving, you may reward them with a weekend getaway, additional driving privileges, a gift card or other big reward that will be exciting and meaningful for the teens.
Have Your Teens Sign a Safe-Driving Contract
The idea of typing up your rules and printing them out may seem like a formality. However, this ensures that your teenagers understand and remember the rules. Go over them with your teens several times, then have them verbally agree to follow each driving rule. Every few weeks, go over the rules again and ask your teens if any rules are hard to follow.
Also, have your teenagers sign a safe-driving contract. As they are doing so, ask your teenagers to reassure you that they agree to follow the rules you've set. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a free contract you can download, or you may create your own.
In the contract, be sure that kids promise that they will obey all the laws of the road and the specific rules that you establish for your teens. They should promise to always stay focused on the road. The contract needs to clearly state how teenagers intend to be responsible drivers.
Finally, keep in mind that the point of all these rules is to protect your teens and others on the road. Convey this fact to them every time you discuss what they can and cannot do as drivers.
By setting clear rules and establishing boundaries, you empower your teenagers to get a head start as responsible drivers. Another way of helping your teenagers get a leg up is to find the best insurance. At the CrowelAgency Inc, we are dedicated to meeting each driver's individual needs, and we welcome young drivers.