My teenage son does not drive yet, but that milestone is looming in a few short weeks. When he was a small child I thought the decision that would cause me the most worry would be allowing him to ride in a car with a random assortment of friends’ parents, many of whom I did not know. I was wrong and I have the gray hairs to prove it.
Many of his friends now have their licenses and my worry barometer is experiencing a severe uptick. The teenage years are a time for parents to allow independence, but it is also a time to stress — and I mean stress to the point of not being that cool parent.
Teens do not yet have the skills that a driver with several years of experience may possess. Helping your teen gain driving experience and teaching them good driving habits will create a much safer driving environment for them and others on the road. Below are a few tips to help your teenager stay safe while driving as the summer comes to an end and the school year begins:
- Don’t get distracted while driving. Put away the cell phone, don’t apply makeup, and don’t search for a song on your iPod.
- Don’t drive with too many friends in the car. The more people, the more distraction.
- Do drive with a purpose. Know the directions to your destination or have a friend navigate.
- Do drive with your seat belt fastened. Require your passengers to wear their seat belts, too.
- Don’t drive when you’re tired.
- Don’t drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Don’t drive over the speed limit.
- Do be observant. Other drivers are out there speeding and drunk.
- Do encourage friends to practice the same safety habits. If they won’t, don’t drive with them.
Following these safety rules will help your teen gain safe driving experience, allow for responsible independence and hopefully avoid giving mom and dad more gray hair.
Written by GiGi Rose, a West Virginia native who has called Nashville home for 25 years. Her professional background is in program coordination and community outreach.