Having a new driver in your home can bring lots of excitement and even a little apprehension on your part. Encouraging your child to develop responsible driving habits can help reinforce good behavior behind the wheel which can prevent unnecessary accidents.
One of the best ways to instruct your teen is to set a good example early on. With a combination of your example, as well as consistent education and discipline, your teen may avoid critical driving errors that could create life-altering outcomes.
Making a driving contract
A driver’s education course is an excellent tool for your teen to learn about the basics of driving. Many courses address statistics about dangerous driving behaviors including distraction, impairment and recklessness. They also provide an introduction to a vehicle’s operation. However, your role as a parent allows you to play a critical part in reinforcing the concepts taught in an educational setting.
Prior to allowing your teen to drive a family vehicle, have a discussion about your expectations. According to healthychildren.org, involve your child in this discussion and allow him or her to ask questions, address concerns and determine consequences for behaviors that violate the contract. Some points of discussion you could consider may include the following:
- Time of day your child can drive
- Number of passengers your child can transport
- Seatbelt use
- Cellphone use
Enforcing a driving contract
Your driving contract may do little to no good if you do not actively enforce the rules. Monitor your child’s driving habits. You may even request a brief check-in where you can verify that your teen has continued to honor the terms of the contract. If you notice non-compliant behavior, immediately issue a consequence and clearly state why you have taken such action.
If your teen has suffered an injury in a car accident, it may take time for him or her to feel comfortable behind the wheel again. Your vigilance and support may help your teen to rebuild the confidence needed to drive.