Nothing shakes the nerves of a parent more than teaching a child to drive. It may not be the most stressful part of parenting a teenager, but preparing your teen driver for the road definitely makes the top five. Even if you have no anxiety when teaching your child to drive, it’s still a serious endeavor. Teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 only account for around 7 percent of all drivers, but they are three times more likely to die in a fatal crash. In 2017, over 4000 teens died in car accidents. Many of these teenagers were passengers killed by the recklessness of other drivers. This speaks to the importance of not only preparing your teen for the road but also teaching them how to be defensive drivers. Having this skill set can be the difference between life and death.
#1 Stress Practice
Much like cooking or sewing, driving is a skill set that must be practiced. One driver’s education course and a few hours behind the wheel won’t do. Parents should be proactive in providing lots of different driving experiences for their child and also reinforce what they are learning at school or in private driving courses. A defensive driving course is especially beneficial. Some states even require it. Regardless, preparing your teen for the road is not a task to be taken on by an older sibling or someone your child’s age. Preparing your child should be a team activity that includes seasoned drivers.
Even if your child is an excellent driver, he or she is still a teenager. Teenagers can be immature, and even the most responsible child can fall victim to peer pressure. In the movie, “Alexander and the Terrible”, No Good, Very Bad Day, teenager Anthony is taking his driver’s licensed test when his phone rings. Knowing that he shouldn’t answer the phone while he is driving, he ignores the calls from his girlfriend, Cecelia. His testing proctor encourages him to answer the phone as a test to see if he will break the rules.
When he finally gives in and reaches for the phone, the proctor screams at him to put the phone down! What happens next is a crash that leaves both parties shaken, the door of the van missing, and audiences laughing. Although this is one of the funniest parts of the movie, it should also be a cautionary tale of how easy it is for kids to break the rules when encouraged by someone else or when no one is looking. For this reason, one step in preparing your child for the road is a ban on all electronics. Make sure you are clear about the rules. Should the phone be off? Can they listen to music from a playlist? Can they leave their phone on but be required to use iPhone’s new feature that stops incoming calls and texts? Lay all of these rules out in writing.
#3 Choose a reliable vehicle
Finally, make sure you choose a reliable vehicle for your child. When purchasing a vehicle, make sure you ask about any past collisions and check for recalls. Look into the car safety standards and make sure that everything is functioning properly. You may not be able to prevent your child from being in a collision, but you can increase their safety by having the car inspected by a reputable mechanic and collision repair shop.
If you have questions about your vehicle’s safety or want possible damage inspected by an experienced collision specialist, give us a call here at Orlando Auto Body at 480-526-5747.