I am pleased to introduce you to Ken Myers, president of Morningside Nannies, with some tips on raising a safe driver. As a parent of a soon-to-be-driving teen, I appreciate the ideas he presents here. As in many parenting situations, parental involvement and eyes wide open is crucial as are clear and solid limits. Since teens’ brains are not yet fully developed and they have less ability to reason, use good judgement and control impulses than adults, they need definitive limits that don’t leave room for judgement calls. For example, a rule against any phone usage at all in the car doesn’t leave them to figure out when it might be okay (emergencies excluded). Enforcing strict limits takes parental creativity and involvement, but it truly is a life and death matter. The temptation to respond to a call or text is simply too great and kids (as adults) are inclined to respond instantly. Distracted driving, according to 2012 statistics, kills nine people and injures over 1000 people daily. Teens, as inexperienced drivers, are even more likely to be involved in distracted driving accidents. Consumer Reports gives many good tips on how to guide your teen to be a safe driver.
How can a parent teach a teen to be a safe driver?
As a Dad, my child first getting behind the wheel can be a nerve-wracking experience. Every negative thought enters my head, and a Dad can’t help but be a worried mess every time his child’s car pulls out of the driveway.
When your child has their learners permit, try to have them drive whenever possible and during multiple weather conditions. This will allow you to see their driving skills in numerous amounts of situations, therefore, giving you plenty of opportunities to give driving advice.
Make sure the driving school is trusted and credible. Look at the curriculum provided during the course, and make sure they touch upon every important aspect of driving.
Before they go for their license and drive on their own make sure your child is comfortable driving. Since they are still novices to the road there will be some unease, but if they seem extremely uncomfortable driving, then have them practice longer with their permit before going for their license.
Make sure the first thing they do when getting in the vehicle is buckle up. It is crucial to emphasize that their seat belt will protect them if there is ever and accident. Your child should also be made aware that not buckling up is against the law.
Until your child is a safe driver with some experience, their friends should not be permitted in the car while they are driving. Friends talking and fussing with the radio are an easy distraction to a new driver.
If your child has an iPod, have them make a play list of songs for when they are driving. Alternately, have them pick one CD or one radio station to listen to the entire drive. If they are constantly picking songs, then their eyes are frequently off the road, which can increase the chances of an accident.
Do Not Permit Texting
In most states texting while driving is illegal, and soon on its way to being prohibited in every state. If your child is frequently on their phone, make it a point to illustrate the hazards of texting and driving.
Rules Of The Road
Make sure your child is aware of the rules of the road, and knows what all signs mean. Quiz your child on the laws and rules and make a fun game out of it.
Make Them Aware Of Road Rage
Your child should be aware that they will encounter road rage from others. Make sure that they do not react negatively and entice the other raged driver, nor have it influence your child to drive faster and put themselves or others in harms way.
Make sure your child has a curfew for when they need to be home at night with the car. Having them home at a reasonable hour will help ensure their safety as well as ease your mind.
If you are buying your child their first car choose a car that is safe if an accident should occur. Most new drivers are in at least one minor accident, and it will ease your mind knowing that they are in a safe and reliable car.
These tips will help guide your child to become a safe driver and an overall better driver.
Ken Myers holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of Morningside Nannies, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.