As their parents, we want to keep them safe. And we can. If we understand the risks teenagers face – we can help them beat the odds. How? Mostly by staying involved as they gain experience over that first year after they get their license to drive alone.
Few teens and preteens ever think about the rules of the road or how to drive safely until they’re just about to start driving. For something as important as driving, we want your kids to get a head start. Here are a few ways to provide teens and preteens with the tools and support they need to make responsible choices.
- Talk to your kids about passenger safety. We’ll make it easy for you. Check out our Countdown2drive program, which helps you put together a passenger agreement and guidelines for pre-teens and teens that are specially tailored for your family.
- Be a good example. Kids are always watching, even when you think they’re not. Try to eliminate distractions by not using a cell phone or texting while driving. Use your teen or preteen to read maps and help with finding locations.
- Teach your kids to ride with experienced drivers and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. Parents must decide what “experienced” means.
- Make it a rule that kids younger than 13 ride like a VIP – in the back. This is the safest place for preteens and younger children to sit.
Consider downloading and printing a Drive It Home agreement to discuss with your teen that can become a roadmap to safer driving. And sign up for Drive It Home’s service that gives you ideas on what and how to practice driving with your teen AFTER they get their license. And share with other parents how this is working for you.
- 2013 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws
- Drive It Home Helping You Keep Your Teen Driver Safe, a website by and for parents dedicated to keeping teen drivers safe.
- Teen Drivers (NHTSA)
- AAA Guide to Teen Driver Safety: Keys2Drive
- Dare to Prepare: What You and Your Teen Need to Know Before They Drive
- Countdown2Drive – Earn Trust. Gain Respect. Countdown2Drive helps families build trust around a core reality of American life: the car. Teens love the freedom riding in a car (and driving) can provide. Parents are understandably nervous: Nothing kills more teens than car crashes. Countdown2Drive helps families build passenger agreements to bridge the gap, setting a tone of mutual respect as today’s younger teens move closer to becoming tomorrow’s drivers. Parents can sleep better and teens can earn the respect and trust they deserve. Start building trust right now.
- Getting Ready to Drive (PDF)