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Help Your Teen Become a Safe and Responsible Driver

As a parent, you have spent years protecting your children from every imaginable danger. So when one of your kids reaches 16 and finally gets their license, turning over the keys to the family car can present a whole slew of new problems to worry about. Despite the fact that teen driving fatalities have declined significantly during the past few decades, car accidents as still the most common cause of teen deaths, and as a parent there are a number of steps you can take to help your child in making the transition to driving smoothly and safely.

Begin talking with your children sooner than later-In 2011, more than 2,000 teen drivers were involved in fatal car accidents throughout the United States. As a parent, it is incredibly important that you make traffic safety an important issue when speaking with your child about the prospect of driving. Make sure they know the risks, and start these dialogues well before you kids have reached driving age.

Be your child’s best role-model-No matter how much you may know about what to do and not do behind the wheel, your children will benefit the most from seeing you apply safe driving practices yourself. This includes simple actions like not texting while driving, or making sure to designate one of the adults in your group to drive home before having a beer when out to dinner.

Spell out rules and expectations-Make sure to clearly communicate what you expect from your child before they begin driving, and ensure that they know that operating a vehicle is a serious responsibility. Rules like: no cell phone usage while driving, no extra passengers, no alcohol, no speeding, and always using seat belts, will help your child stay safe, and setting specific consequences will allow you to take away privileges if your child violates your expectations.

Once your child begins driving, continue to be involved-It is not enough to model good behavior and teach your teen good driving habits until they get their license. Parents need to stay involved and continue to reinforce their rules and expectations as long as possible to create life long safe drivers.
(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

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