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If the thought of putting your teen behind the wheel of a car is a scary one, consider this fact: parents play a pivotal role in helping kids survive their first few years on the road. You don’t have to cross your fingers and just hope for the best; there are concrete things you can do to help keep your child safe. Take a look at these five tips for protecting your teen as he (or she) takes to the open road:
Invest in a Driver’s Ed Course
There’s no substitute for adequate preparation. Enroll your teen in a safe-driving course. The more practice he gets, the better equipped he’ll be to handle driving alone in the future. An added perk is that many insurers give discounts to successful driver’s ed graduates.
Set Clear Expectations
Just because your child is getting older doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t still have boundaries. Indeed, driving is a huge responsibility and should be treated as a privilege, not a right. Sit your child down and have a long conversation about what you expect every time she gets behind the wheel of car. Write it out even. Include rules about the number of passengers she can have, curfews and seatbelts. Outline the areas and roads that should be avoided and go over her responsibilities in regards to accidents and tickets, as well as car maintenance and insurance costs. Talk about speed limits, weather conditions and, of course, highlight the dangers of driving while distracted or upset, making sure to stress that absolutely no drugs, alcohol or texting is allowed while driving. Clear driving expectations are no different than the rights and obligations found in a lease agreement or the summary of EB-2 qualifications that immigrants consult to move abroad; a sensible set of rules informs people, reminding them of the responsibilities they have to themselves and to others.
Find a Safe Car
There are a lot of cars in the world. Pick a safe and reliable one for your teen to drive. It doesn’t need to be the newest or most expensive, but it does need to have verified safety features. You can refer to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s website for more information.
Model Good Driving Behavior
Kids learn by mimicking adults. Model good driving habits so that your son or daughter will have them, too. When you drive, be sure to always buckle your seatbelt, follow applicable driving laws, stay off your phone and remain patient, courteous and respectful at all times.
Ask your child to take responsibility. If he’s invested in car ownership in some way, he’ll be more prone to take driving seriously. For instance, some insurers apply discounts for teens with good grades. Ask yours to maintain a certain GPA in order to use the car. Have him help with the upkeep of owning a car by buying gas for it or taking it for an oil change. Even small sacrifices like washing the car every week can help your teen take pride in car ownership, making it more likely he’ll have respect for cars and driving as a whole and remain safer as a result!