The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that novice teen drivers are twice as likely as adult drivers to be in a fatal crash. The two major factors for that are the immaturity and inexperience of young drivers. Those factors lead to high-risk behavior behind the wheel like driving late at night, drinking and driving and distracted driving.

Cell phone use while driving is a major temptation for teen drivers. Teens often feel invincible and some may consciously or subconsciously believe that they are capable of safely using a phone while driving. A study done by the University of Utah contradicts that belief, reporting that a teen driver using a cell phone while driving has the same reaction time as a 70-year-old driver who isn’t using a cell phone.

Understandably, these sorts of statistics terrify parents. Here are some guidelines on teaching your teen to drive.

Pay Attention to the Teens Emotions and Keep Yours in Check

A survey done by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, asking teens what was the number one thing parents could change about teaching them to drive, they responded, “Tell them not to yell at us.” Frayed emotions and quick tempers do not lead to good driving or good learning situations. Experts recommend practicing driving in small practice sessions, anywhere from 15-30 minutes until the teen and the parent are more comfortable.

Practice in Varied Weather and Environments

The basic mechanics of driving often come pretty quickly to new teen drivers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that what teens really need to build safe, confident driving techniques is driving experience in adverse weather and diverse driving conditions. For example, if you live and practice driving primarily in a small town or a suburb, take the time to take your new teen driver into a big city or onto a freeway to practice as well.

Be an Example of Safe Driving

It’s one thing to tell your teen to never drink and drive, to wear a seatbelt, and to keep their hands off their phones while driving, but it’s only truly impactful when you keep those rules yourself. Studies cited in the Washington Post show that parents who are risky drivers, foster the same behavior in their teens. Being an example of safe driving starts long before your teen gets behind the wheel. It’s something they pick up on as they grow up and spend time as a passenger in your car.
Teaching a teen to drive is a long process. Be patient with both yourself and your new teen driver. Compliment them when they drive safely, and encourage them to be an example of safe driving to their friends.

Regardless of how safe you and your family drive, accidents can still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, you deserve fair and full compensation. The attorneys at Craig Swapp & Associates are ready to help. Give us a call at 1-800-404-9000 to set up a free consultation or tell us your story by filling out the online form at the bottom of this page.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp