When you were a teenager, learning to drive was a lot less of a process than it is today. You may have opted into a driver’s education class, or spent time feeling your parents cringe with every stop or turn you made. Today’s teenage drivers have a much more rigorous path to earning a license. Most states now require specific steps to qualify for a “graduated” type of driver’s license that limits a teen’s ability to be on the road… and for good reason: the number one cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. is motor vehicle accidents.
Partially due to factors like inexperience, distraction, and intoxication, teenagers are at risk for death or injury when driving. That’s why parents and trusted adults should be involved in teaching teenagers the safest ways to drive. Despite the “resistance” of a teenager, they are more likely to model positive behaviors of their parents than to risk their lives behind the wheel. So, when parents put phones away, fasten seat belts and obey traffic laws, they are teaching their teens to drive safely. Plus, those parents are demonstrating their expectations of safe driving, not just lecturing.
Just like showing a teenager how to drive safely in bad weather or around construction areas, parents have the power to teach a teenager other safe driving strategies. This includes ignoring calls and text messages, limiting the number of friends in the car and, of course, remaining sober when driving. A parent or other adult is the best resource for teaching lessons on driving safety, and there is no reason to leave those teachable moments to and ignition interlock device or the “school of life.” Start teaching your teen to drive safely by being a safe driver, and use your own years of experience teach those very important lessons.