How can I help my teen be a safe driver?

Get advice on how to help your teen be a better driver and stay safe behind the wheel. Learn about modeling good behavior and explaining risks.

Getting a driver's license is a big milestone in a teen's life. It is exciting because it allows them to have more freedom and gives them a sense of responsibility. For parents, those same things that excite their teens strikes fear in them. The idea of sending a child out onto New York roads feels dangerous. Because of this, parents want to know what they can do to help ensure their teen's safety when behind the wheel.

Proper preparation

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains that preparing teenage drivers through practice and discussing safety is the best way to protect them when they hit the road solo. Letting a teen know there are rules and consequences can help them to act more responsible and avoid dangerous behind the wheel behaviors.

Parents also need to demonstrate good driving habits. Children learn from watching their parents. The same is true with driving. A teen will pay attention to how his or her parent drives and take cues from what he or she sees.

Know the law

It is also important that parents make sure to know and enforce the law. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the state has a graduated license system that has restrictions for teen drivers. This includes restrictions on where you can drive within the state. Parents should make sure they uphold the state restrictions and make it clear to their teen they must follow the law.

Talk about distracted driving

Distracted driving is especially prevalent among teen drivers. It is essential that parents have a frank discussion with their children about the dangers of doing anything behind the wheel except focusing on driving.

Parents should cover the well-known risks, such as using a cell phone when driving, but also discuss the lesser known risks. The Association for Psychological Science explains that research shows music is a top distraction for teen drivers. Teen drivers do not have enough experience to focus on the road and on listening to the music. Plus, changing songs or adjusting the volume are distracting to a teen driver. Parents can explain to teens that letting music take their focus away from the road is as bad as any other distraction.

Letting a child drive off for the first time is a scary experience for a parent. There are many risks on the roads. Parents can teach their children to be safe and instill good driving habits in them, but this may not prevent every accident. If your teen is the victim of someone else's unsafe driving habits, then you may want to consider seeking advice from an accident attorney, such as those at Kreindler & Kreindler LLP.