You can’t just rely on driver’s ed courses when it comes to teenage driving: parent involvement before and after your teen receives their driver’s license is key. In fact, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, teenage drivers whose parents establish driving rules and supportively monitor teenage driving are 50% less likely to get in an accident, 71% less likely to drink and drive, 30% less likely to use their phone while driving, 50% more likely to use their seatbelt, and generally less likely to speed.
Give yourself a little peace of mind by following our tips for preventing teenage driving accidents.
Tips for Parents: Preventing Teenage Driving Accidents
Supplement Required Teenage Driving Education
Depending on where you live, your state will have different requirements for teenage driving education. For example, if you live in St. Louis, MO, your teenage driver will need to complete 40 hours of supervised driving with a licensed adult or a driving instructor, which must include 10 hours driven at night. If you live in East St. Louis, IL, required teenage driving education includes a state-approved driver’s education class made up of 30 hours of classroom instruction and 6 hours of behind-the-wheel driving instruction — plus 50 more hours of in-car training with a licensed driver.
Supplementing your state’s existing teenage driving education will only strengthen your teenager’s driving skills and help them feel more comfortable behind the wheel. It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming — just add an extra twenty minutes to every driving session. Try to hold your teenage driving sessions in a variety of conditions. And don’t let them stop after your teen receives their license — be sure to ride with them throughout their first year of licensure to continue their education!
Focus on Higher Order Driving Skills
When completing teenage driving sessions with your child, focus on developing the higher order driving skills that are crucial for their success as a driver. 75% of serious teenage driving accidents are caused by driver error, including driving at speeds inappropriate for road conditions, getting distracted, and failing to detect hazards. While driving with your teen, emphasize the four skill areas that will help them avoid teenage driving accidents: vehicle handling, speed management, space management, and hazard recognition. Specifics like which way to point your wheels on an incline will help your teenage driver pass their test, but won’t be used on a daily basis like these higher order driving skills.
Attend a Driving Program Together
Organizations nationwide offer teenage driving programs for parents and teens to attend. In fact, some states even require parent education. Not only will these programs help your teen learn more about driving, but they will also help you better educate them. Research parent-teen driving education programs near you to find the best one for your needs. For help finding the perfect program for you, ask your local DMV or even your teenager’s driver’s education teacher.
Create a Teenage Driving Agreement
You may think that your duties are over once your teen receives their license — but that’s not true! You must continue to be invested in teenage driving after this point to decrease your teen’s chances of ending up in an accident. You can do so by creating a parent-teen driving agreement that sets up rules for your new driver as well as repercussions for failed compliance. The point of the agreement is not to punish bad teenage driving, but rather to reinforce the skills learned in driving education and promote a continued conversation about driving safety. Be clear about what you expect out of your teenage driver, including when they must be home, who or how many people they can transport in their car, and where they can travel. Doing so should help prevent teenage driving accidents!