So, you have a teenage driver in the household now. Although you’re thrilled about their accomplishment and growth, you’re also anxious. They know the basic road rules, they’ve passed their written and driving examination, but are they really ready to get behind the wheel? As an experienced driver, you know how easy it is to get into serious trouble. You worry about everything from distractions and peer pressure to traffic tickets and accidents.
You don’t want to rain on their parade or scare them from ever wanting to drive, but you do want to ensure that they’re safe and responsible. Besides talking to them about the dangers on the road, here are a few strategies to consider.
Make Your Own Rules
As an added precaution, consider creating a list of rules you expect your teenager to follow when they’re driving. You can determine things like when they’re allowed to drive, how many passengers they can have in the vehicle, and more.
Once you’ve decided on the driving provisions, develop consequences that will follow if they fail to comply. For example, if they miss curfew, they might lose driving privileges for a week. If they get a ticket or get into an accident (resulting from reckless or distracted driving), perhaps they can only drive with supervision for a month.
After you’ve drafted the contract, discuss it with your teen to ensure they understand your expectations. Then each of you signs the contract. Keep in mind that if this is going to encourage them to be responsible drivers, you must follow through on your agreement, no matter how upset they may get.
When things are given to you, it’s easy to abuse them. However, when you have to work hard or invest your time, money, and energy into the purchase or upkeep of something, you tend to be more responsible. So, if you want to encourage your teens to be safe on the road, require that they contribute to car-related expenses. Whether they have a part-time job or simply receive an allowance, having to give up a portion of their money to pay for a car can inspire them to do the right thing behind the wheel.
It doesn’t have to be much for them to get the point. They can be responsible for paying for gas, oil changes, car washes, and other small maintenance tasks. If they end up getting a ticket, it should be their responsibility to cover the cost. They should also have to contribute to the deductible you’ll have to pay if you have to file Amtrust auto insurance claims. Even if they have to break the bill up into smaller weekly or monthly installments, it will show them responsibility. Perhaps having the teen work with local tax preparers and be responsible for paying the vehicles property taxes each year would be a strong motivator as well.
Teen Driver Apps
If you’re worried about your teen driver, modern technology is on your side. There are several apps that parents can download on a smartphone to help ease their fears. Concerned your teen might have a lead foot? Applications like Bouncie and Hyundai Blue Link are beneficial for monitoring driver speed. The app will send notifications to your phone if your teen goes over the speed limit or hits the brakes quickly.
Is your teenager always glued to their phone? As distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents, you want to nip this in the bud. Some applications enable parents to monitor if their teens use their cell phones while they’re behind the wheel. If you’d like a little more control, you can also download an application that limits the functions of a smartphone when the car is in motion. While they can call 911 if there’s an emergency, they won’t be able to live stream on social media while they’re supposed to be focused on the road.
Being the parent of a teen driver is no easy feat. You’re constantly worried about their ability to stay safe on the road and avoid getting into trouble. Although you can’t be everywhere or control their every move, you can make things easier for everyone. Use some of the above suggestions to encourage your teen to do the right thing behind the wheel.