A parent rightfully feels a mix of conflicting emotions when a teenager earns a driver’s license and begins driving alone. On the one hand it’s great that teens can get themselves around, giving them access to work opportunities and social events without needing their parents’ help. On the other hand, teenaged drivers are much more likely than older drivers to get into an accident, and car accidents are still a leading cause of serious injury and death among teenagers. Parents can take steps to improve their teenaged children’s safety on the road.
- Talk to your kids about safe driving habits.
Perhaps the most important thing parents can do to keep their kids safe is to talk about the importance of following safety rules. Reminding your teen that he or she is still learning how to drive well may induce an eye roll or two, but it may also spur second thoughts about making aggressive moves that cross the line into recklessness. Teaching kids about the importance of seat belt use should start well before they learn to drive, but as drivers it’s important to emphasize that both they and their passengers need to buckle up. Teenagers also need to be told about how to deal with fatigue and how to respond calmly to other aggressive drivers on the road.
- Establish and enforce ground rules.
Establishing rules and enforcing them can be effective ways to discourage bad behavior. Some rules should be applied to every teen driver. Drinking or using drugs and then driving is a serious mistake that increases the danger of accidents and puts the driver’s license at risk. Parents should go a step further and take steps to address what may be an early stage of a longer-term problem. Other rules may need to be tailored to a specific teen’s personality. For example, it’s often a good idea to prohibit a teenaged driver from carrying passengers for a period of time, to reduce distractions and potential peer pressure to do something foolish. Some teens may need to be limited in terms of the hours during which they are allowed to drive.
- Talk about costs.
Being up-front about the cost of driving—everything from the cost of cars and gas to the price of insurance and how it can change—can give teenagers an appreciation for the financial risks of accidents. Even if parents will pay some of these costs, teenagers should be asked to bear them in mind. The mechanics of insurance can be especially useful. Perhaps parents can only afford to pay premiums that are set when the teenager has a clean accident record. A teenager who knows this might be more careful about avoiding accidents than one who doesn’t connect his or her behavior with costs.
- Be prepared to take away driving privileges.
Although taking away a teenager’s driving privileges can be a hard step for parents as well as their affected kids, it can be a powerful way to send a message. Even if the law doesn’t step in to stop a teenager from making mistakes, parents should protect themselves and their children by taking away the keys when the teenager has shown a lack of respect for the risks involved in driving.
GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm
The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented accident clients in the Las Vegas area for over 45 years. If you have questions about how to manage your teenager’s risks behind the wheel, please give us a call today at 702-388-4476. We can also be reached through our contacts page.