In the eyes of teens and parents, getting a driver’s license is getting closer to personal independence. And while this is a significant milestone, the dangers of driving should not be handled lightly. Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for U.S teens. Consider these tips for teens and parents to encourage safe driving.

Tips for Teens

  • Always use your seat belt. In more than half of all teen motor vehicle death occurrences, they were not wearing seatbelts.
  • Accelerate and brake slowly.
  • Keep a steady hold on the wheel.
  • If you’re using a GPS, plug in the address and get it ready before starting the car.
  • Do not eat or drink while driving. People who eat and drive increase their odds of getting into a car accident by 80%.
  • Put away your phone. Eliminate the temptation to be distracted by turning off the volume and keeping it out of view.
  • Maintain a safe distance. This gives you plenty of time to react. This distance should be increased during hazardous conditions like rain, snow, fog, etc.
  • Use your turn signals at all times. Communicating with motorists around you is crucial, especially because you may not be able to see them.
  • Make sure you have a road emergency kit in your car.

Tips for Parents

  • Be aware when driving with your teen to mindfully set a good example.
  • Make buckling up a habit. When everyone gets in the car, remind them to put on their seatbelts.
  • Limit the number of passengers that your teen can drive with. Teen driving risks increase with the addition of each passenger.
  • Create a written agreement that clearly outlines your expectations concerning their driving habits.
  • Make sure your teen gets at least 50 hours behind the wheel with an experienced driver in various road conditions beforehand. Certain states have their own requirements but keep going if you feel they need more practice.
  • Help them assemble a road emergency kit and teach them about how to use what’s inside.
  • Ask and be sure they have enough gas before heading out, especially on longer-distance trips.
  • Encourage them to drive during the daytime and limit nighttime driving until they are more experienced.
  • Ensure they never drive compromised. This includes alcohol impairment, sleepiness, or drowsiness.

Getting a driver’s license is exciting! And it’s a big moment for your teen. With these tips, you’ll start the conversation about why driving can be hazardous. And most importantly, reminding your new driver how important and easy it can be to make safe decisions.

Sources: United States Department of Transportation, Healthy Children, Safe Kids Worldwide, First Time Driver, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention