Your teen passed the test – they have their permit, and they are ready to get behind the wheel. With practice, soon enough they will have their license.
This can be both exciting and alarming for parents. After all, your child’s safety is your priority, and it is no secret that Washington teens face significant risks on the road. So, what steps can you take to reduce that risk?
4 steps to increase teen driving safety
Parents already play an active role in teaching their teens to drive. However, it is critical to remember these steps during this journey:
- Practice, practice, practice: Part of the risk teens face on the road is due to their inexperience. So, if parents commit more time to supervised driving practice, it can help teens feel more comfortable and experienced. Washington requires parents to supervise 50 hours of practice time, with ten hours at night. However, the more practice, the better.
- Take advantage of resources: There are many resources available for parents to help teach their teen driver – and increase their safety. For example, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety teamed up to provide parents with new guides. These guides cover choosing a safe vehicle for your teen, understanding state traffic laws and establishing rules for your teen driver.
- Maintain a conversation about safety: Emphasizing safety is not a one-time thing. It helps to maintain an open discussion about safe driving. For example, if you implement a rule of no phones behind the wheel, take time to explain the reason why. Discuss the very real consequences of texting and driving. Explaining why you have a certain rule can go a long way – and it can help make safety a habit.
- Be a safe driver yourself: Yes, your teen watches you more than you may think. They learn from you too. Therefore, you must make sure you set a good example. Avoid all distractions, always wear your seatbelt and follow traffic laws.
Overall, it takes time to hone any skill – even driving. The longer you drive, the more experience you gain. However, taking these steps can help your teen take safety – and the responsibility of driving – seriously.