A driver’s license offers your teenager more freedom and independence. However, driving also brings risks, especially for new drivers.
Before your child gets behind the wheel, he or she should understand the importance of safe driving.
Know the facts
When discussing driver safety, use statistics to illustrate your point. According to the CDC, teenagers have the highest risk of being involved in an accident. The risk is higher for:
- Male drivers
- Drivers with teen passengers
- Newly-licensed drivers
- Teens driving at night
The goal of sharing these statistics is not to frighten your teenager, but rather to emphasize the importance of responsible driving.
Explain the law
Graduated driver licensing laws place restrictions on newly-licensed drivers. In New Jersey, teens with a probationary license may not:
- Drive between 11:01 PM and 5:00 AM
- Transport multiple passengers unless accompanied by a parent or guardian
- Use cell phones while driving
Make sure your teenager understands the potential consequences of breaking the law. State law prohibits probationary drivers from making plea agreements for points-carrying traffic offenses. Multiple offenses can result in license suspension.
Establish clear rules for driving, such as:
- Wear seat belts
- Obey speed limits
- Avoid distracted or drowsy driving
- Never drink and drive or ride with an impaired driver
Be prepared to implement consequences if your young driver does not follow the rules.
Set an example
Consider your own driving habits and make sure you are setting a positive example for your kids. If you make a mistake while driving, use it as a teaching opportunity.
Encourage putting safety first
Encourage your teen to prioritize safety at all times, even when it is inconvenient. For example, being late for school is better than speeding.
By setting guidelines and modeling good habits, you can help your teenager become a responsible driver.