When summer ends, millions of American households say goodbye to casual schedules and lazy mornings with the bittersweet arrival of a brand new school year.
While some parents return to their daily chaperoning duties, to and from school, some new teen drivers are given the opportunity to drive themselves to and from school, work, and extracurricular activities.
Having a newly licensed driver in the household can be stressful and exciting for any parent of a teen driver and for good reason, according to the car accident lawyers in New Jersey at Davis, Saperstein, & Salomon, our roadways are dangerous and a substantial number of car accidents are due to driver error.
Since teen drivers are some of the least experienced of drivers on the road, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they may be more at risk of being involved in an accident, whether they are at fault or not. If you have a new teen driver this fall, here are some tips for discussing driving with your new driver and preparing them to be safe during a busy time of year:
Discuss the Basics
While new drivers are inexperienced, their minds are most likely fresh with information that they learned during driver’s education courses, however, it’s important to reiterate some roadway basics. Sit down with your teen driver and see what he or she thinks are important aspects of being a safe driver, compare your notes, and have a open and honest discussion.
Don’t be afraid to discuss the importance of keeping within the speed limit or wearing a seatbelt at all times. While this basic information may get a sigh or an eye roll from your teen driver, it’s crucial to discuss the importance of following such rules, considering that many accidents involving teens resulted from speed and recklessness and seat belts can be lifesaving.
Set Rules and Expectations
Having a teen driver can not only free up your own schedule, but can be helpful to the rest of the household. It’s important that your teen knows that having the freedom to drive alone, and even have a driver’s license, is a freedom and a privilege that should be treated seriously and respectfully.
As a parent, and the person who most likely provides the insurance and the vehicle, it is not unreasonable or unfair to set some driving rules and expectations for your teen. While it is entirely up to you to determine the kind of rules you put in place, sit down with your teen and consider discussing the following:
- Set a curfew during the week and weekends (your city/state may even have a curfew for teen drivers).
- Discuss driving with passengers (again, follow city/state laws).
- Talk about distracted driving, such as texting and driving.
- Show and tell him or her how to drive in school zones, near school buses, and other areas where there is pedestrian congestion.
- Set rules about keeping in contact (ie. calling when leaving and arriving).
In addition to setting up rules and discussing your expectations, it’s a good idea to have consequences for rules that are ignored or broken. Many parents and teen drivers write up a pledge or contract, clearly stating rules and consequences, and sign the document, vowing to be a safe driver.
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