With proms as well as preparation for end of school year celebrations this month, it’s suitable that May is recognized as National Youth Traffic Safety Month.
An alarming statistic from the Center for Disease Control is that the leading cause of death for U.S. teens is motor vehicle crashes, accounting for more than one in three deaths in this age group.
Here is some reassurance: Parent or family members that teach the teen safe driving techniques are the #1 influence to teen driving safety. So before you let your teen behind the wheel, let’s discuss what you can do to make sure they start off on the right side of the road.
Be A Passenger
Ride with your teen driver in the passenger seat as co-pilot for their training sessions. The first few sessions should last about 15 minutes. Then as you and your teen driver get comfortable, increase the session length time up to 30 minutes, then to 1 hour.
It’s important that after your teen gets their license you still co-pilot at least once a week for the first 6 months to be sure that they are following road laws and are confident in their driving ability.
Follow Driving Laws
Before switching the car from P to D, it’s critical that you’re confident in your teen’s comprehension of California traffic laws as well as pre-travel checks such as seat and mirror adjustment. Beyond the traffic laws, it’s important to set your own ground rules so that you both of you agree upon set expectations.
Both of you should read through the California Driver Handbook, then together discuss the rules you find most important.
Start in a Parking Lot
Empty parking lots are the perfect place for your teen to get a handle on steering, turning, braking, and checking the mirrors. Set up a course or simply talk them through certain routines so that they practice the basics with minimal hazards and distractions.
Once both of you are confident and comfortable, it is time to drive on the streets during non busy hours so that your teen can ease into road driving. Avoid heavy trafficked roads, nighttime, and poor weather conditions as these situations can become stressful for the new driver.
Lead By Example
When your teen is starting to learn to drive, they will increasingly be alert of your driving technique, so it’s critical you lead by example. As an experienced driver it can sometimes be hard to go back to the basics such as staying under the speed limit and gradually rolling to a stop, but remember your teen is watching.
Have fun teaching your teen to drive! Savor the moments. It should remind you of when you taught them to walk and ride their bike. Because once you trust them behind the wheel on their own, it is only a matter of minutes until they ask you “Can I borrow the car to go out with my friends?”. And then the worry begins again!
We want to do everything possible to keep teens abiding by traffic laws, but if the situation comes up where the teen gets a ticket, we are here to help. Give us a call or visit our Get Started page to erase their ticket and avoid the hefty fine.