When’s the best time to talk about safe driving? Right now. Too many parents put off the conversation until their teens are “permit age” (generally 15). But the consequences of unsafe driving can be deadly, so the earlier you have the conversation, the better. Here are some tips to help the discussion.
The conversation shouldn’t end once your teen has their license. How they drive during those first few months may set the pattern for future driving. This web site is a great resource for you to keep the conversation going.
Talk with your teen, not at them. Remember, they’re excited about driving. It’s a fun topic for them. If your teen feels they can share their views, their experiences and their excitement about driving with you, things may go a lot more smoothly.
Being a “safe driver” is not something teens dream of becoming. But becoming a “smart driver” does appeal to them. The same goes for becoming a “skilled driver.” So concentrate on them learning to drive well and prepare them well for adverse driving situations such as rain, snow, and glare.
Don’t be afraid to be parental. You’re still the authority figure they most admire. Your job is to provide structure for your teens. They won’t ever say so, but it’s what teens want and what they need—a parent, not a friend. Don’t balk at enforcing the guidelines. A consequence is not a consequence unless you enforce it. Taking away your teen’s driving privileges for a week or a month may not be convenient for you, but it might just save their life.