Advice for Parents of Teen Drivers
Set a good example for your teenager.
Practice what you preach. When parents run red and yellow lights, speed down the highway at 75 miles per hour, weave in and out of traffic, ride the bumper of the car in front of them and exhibit signs of road rage, they are telling teens that rules don't count — and this can be fatal. Be a role model for your teen.
Watch your attitude toward your teen. Be patient and positive as they become comfortable with driving. Don't overwhelm your teen driver with too much criticism or commentary.
Consider creating a driving contract for your teen, and be prepared to stick to it.
A driving contract is a great way to let teens know that driving is both a privilege and a serious responsibility. It also establishes clear expectations about driving for your teen.
Set a clear expectation: no texting or tweeting behind the wheel.
This is something you'll want to include in your driving contract. Research increasingly shows in-car distractions are a leading cause of serious car crashes involving teens. They live in a digital world and texting is a way of life. Your mandate needs to be clear: not while you're driving! No exceptions. If they violate the policy you need to take the keys away for at least two weeks. They need to know you're serious.
Check your tires!
New drivers need to understand that it's their responsibility to keep their car in good working order. Top off your fluids, check the oil and always keep your tires properly inflated. (Tiresafety.com is a good resource.) Tires need to be checked every month with a tire gauge. It'll save you money at the pump and keep your teen safer out on the road.
Put emergency supplies in the trunk of your teenager's car. Explain the purpose of each tool and have them practice using them.
This will not just help your teen feel prepared in the event of an emergency, it could also help your teen out of a tight spot on the road.
Choose an ICE contact.
All drivers should designate an emergency contact in the address book of their cell phones under the name "ICE" — In Case of Emergency. Emergency workers in many towns check for an ICE contact in cell phones.
Information from Bridgestone's www.teensdrivesmart.com.