Patience, Persistence Important to Parent's Role in Teen Driver Training
Is your teen about ready to drive? If so, look for ways to actively engage with your teen even before she starts to drive. Consider these ways you can help your teen become a safe and smart driver:
- Discuss the risks; be specific. Even a short drive can yield valuable lessons, like the importance of slowing down (not speeding up) when approaching a yellow light. Initiate discussions well before she gets behind the wheel.
- Teach how to properly use the car. If the car has features like antilock brakes, show how to use them properly in a safe place, such as an empty parking lot.
- Keep evaluating and critiquing her skills. Don't fall into the trap of assuming her training is over once she completes her driver's education program and gets her permit. Every teen develops driving skills at a different rate, and there's nothing wrong with keeping an eye out.
- Mesh your rules with state requirements. Have a detailed discussion to explain what you will and will not allow your teen to do behind the wheel, as well as the restrictions the state has for teens with temporary or graduated driver "learner" permits. Creating a written Parent-Teen Driving Contract can help ensure your teen has a clear understanding of the responsibilities.
- Discuss peer pressure. Stress the importance of speaking up — and contacting you — if she feels unsafe at any time when riding with a friend.
- Understand your influence. A study by the Allstate Foundation discovered that while parents overwhelmingly believe their driving helps their teens be safer drivers, many admit to exhibiting potentially unsafe driving practices when their teens are with them. So, if you insist she stays off her phone when driving, make sure you do it yourself.
Prepared by George Palatine, Allstate Auto Insurance company, Northbrook, Ill.