Experience may be the best teacher when it comes to teen driving. Parental involvement during the first 12-18 months of solo driving decreases risky behavior, allowing a teen the experience necessary to stay safe behind the wheel. We’ve covered the basics of teaching teens to drive, and talking to your teen about driving in previous posts; now it’s time to address making sure your teen knows how to handle the open road when driving solo.
Jiffy Lube, your Southern California vehicle maintenance professionals, provides the following advice on how parents can keep teens safe during their first year of driving:
- Supervised driving: Ride with your young driver to log at least 100 hours of practice time; offer feedback in a constructive way, and find opportunities to praise your teen for smart driving.
- Communication: Talk with your teen about common hazards such as tailgating, distractions, speeding, poor weather conditions, and visual obstructions. Remind them to anticipate potential problems; increase their reaction time by teaching them visual scanning.
- Pre-drive conversations: Before handing over the keys, talk with your teen about their destination, planned driving route, number of passengers, expected time of return, and whether or not they will call home while out.
- Driving rules: Make your expectations clear; consider implementing a parent-teen driving contract that spells out the rules of the road for your teen. Take time to review and sign the contract together.
- Non-negotiable rules: Emphasize that your teen driver and any passengers must wear seat belts at all times. Discuss the perils of driving under the influence of alcohol or riding with an impaired driver; create an alternate transportation plan so your teen can easily “say no” to an impaired driving situation.
- Passengers: Limit the number of passengers during a teen’s first year of driving; collision risks increase significantly with the number of young passengers.
Last but not least, provide a safe and well maintained vehicle for your teen to drive—a late model, mid or full size vehicle with updated safety features like air bags is usually best. Visit the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website to check vehicle safety and rollover ratings.
After choosing your teen’s vehicle, keep it road worthy with preventative vehicle maintenance including a regular oil change. Remember your oil change coupon, and use these tips from your neighborhood Jiffy Lube for safe teen driving the first year and beyond.
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