As school goes back into season once again, there’s a whole new crop of teen drivers hitting the roads for the first time on a regular schedule. While they may have gotten their licenses over the summer and spent some time practicing at their leisure, it doesn’t quite compare to getting up at 6 or 7 am every day for a potentially drowsy commute. Make sure your child is prepared with these three safety tips written specifically for the challenges of teen driving.
Wake Up Early
Get up with your teen at least an hour before they need to get on the road and make sure they’re fully awake and no longer drowsy before leaving. If your teen is still nodding off a little or has trouble keeping their eyes open, hop in the car with them or make them take another family member who can help them stay awake. Drowsy driving is now considered even more dangerous than drunk driving, so letting your teen out the door too early could be a life-altering mistake. You can’t count on a teen to accurately measure their own level or drowsiness either, which is why it’s essential to get up with them and make that decision yourself.
Ban the Phone
Aside from drowsy driving, using a cellphone is one of the biggest safety risks common to teen driving. Every teen thinks they can quickly read a text message or tell their friend they’re on the way, and thousands of them are proven wrong each year by ending up in serious accidents. Since there’s such a strong pull to use the phone while you’re in the car, parents have the option of using remote control software to limit phone functions. These software options allow you to coordinate the phone’s functions so that when the car is running, texts and phone calls won’t go through to the phone. The outgoing options are also limited. This allows you to make sure your teen has their full attention on the road without any safety distractions.
Follow a Graduated Program
Does your state simply award a full license when a driver passes the test regardless of previous experience? Many states are switching to a graduated license system, even for those over the age of 18, and it’s proving very powerful in terms of safety. Teen driving accidents are down by around 40% in these states. You can create your own graduated system if your state doesn’t have one by requiring your teen to get more hours of experience with you in the passenger seat before you let them get a full license.