The Delaware Driver Safety Education Association provided us of the most common errors that most drivers, not just Teen Drivers, make:
- Excessive speed for conditions
- Aggressive driving (weaving in traffic, cutting off other drivers)
- Failure to wear a safety belt
- Inattentive driving as a result of distractions inside the car
- Making incorrect assumptions about other drivers
- Tailgating (not leaving enough space between vehicles)
- Not checking for obstacles and traffic before pulling out or backing
- Passing without checking for traffic in the passing lanes
What can you, as a parent, do to help them learn as they drive themselves around, go to parties, take road trips with their friends, and pick up their siblings? It’s an effort that takes time, knowledge, and patience. These suggestions can help –
- Coaching. Provide lots of in-car, “passenger seat” supervision.
Start off with small trips – less then five miles away – to build up their confidence.
- Vehicles. Provide a safe car for teens to drive: easy to maneuver, with airbags and good tires.
- Guidance. Give your teen gentle, constructive critiques of their driving, and keep your temper in check.
- Set realistic goals, expectations, and consequences for your teen driver. If you make rules, stick to them. Follow this link from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for ideas on coaching your Teen Driver and rule setting.
- Know Your Teen Is Prepared. Make sure your teen knows exactly what to do in the event of an accident. At an absolute minimum, make sure they always carry their driver license, and – for all the vehicles they may be driving – know where the vehicle registration card and the insurance card are kept for each vehicle.
- Know the Road Rules. Pick up a current driver’s guide from your DMV. Study it with your teen and point out when they are obeying these rules on the road. If they aren’t, gently point that out to correct them.Delaware and Pennsylvania both provide “The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program Guides” to newly licensed Teen Drivers.
- Teach them about vehicle maintenance – tires, oil, gas, mirrors, cleaning cars after snow storms – teach them to maintain their vehicle and ensure they have the tools to do it.
- Set a good example. If you run red and yellow lights, speed down the highway at 75 MPH, weave in and out of traffic, take chances on the road, ride the bumper of the car in front of you, scream at other drivers, or exhibit other signs of road rage, you’re showing your teen that the rules don’t count – and this can be fatal.