Many teenagers are excited to receive their driver’s license on their 16th birthday. While this is a great milestone, it also creates more panic for parents. After all, auto accidents are the highest cause of death for people 15-20 years old. Even if your teen is a great driver, there are plenty of other factors on the road that can cause accidents to happen. If you’re getting ready to allow your 16-year-old to travel the roads unsupervised, here are eight things to do before handing over the keys.
Practice, practice, practice
Teaching your child to drive is your responsibility, and practicing often is important. Not only should you practice in good weather conditions, but be sure to take your child out when it’s snowing or raining too. The more you practice, the more comfortable your child will be behind the wheel. Having a strong level of comfort can give you a slight piece of mind that every time your teen steps out on his or her own.
Talk to your insurance
The last thing you need is for something to happen to your teen while driving only to find your insurance wouldn’t cover it. Before your child goes driving alone, contact your insurance company to find out what type of coverage you may need as well as what these changes will cost your insurance. Once you have the all-clear from your provider, you can start to ease up on your grip of the keys.
Know a trusted mechanic
During the first few months of a teen’s driving experience, you may have more trips to the mechanic than you want. According to Conklin Fangman Buick GMC out of Kansas City, “A trusted mechanic will not only look at the vehicle ahead of time, but they can also provide insight on ways to create a safer vehicle for the model of your choice.” Plus, using the same mechanic over and over could result in loyalty program points that can reduce the cost of future services.
Create rules and share them
Every parent should have driving rules for their children, and it’s important for you to share these with your child as well. Whether it’s about the number of additional passengers, the volume of the radio, or any other number of rule ideas, creating rules and talking about them will ensure your child fully understands what’s expected along with the consequences they’ll face should they choose to disobey.
Give your child access to help
Whether your vehicle is equipped with OnStar, a map, or a navigation system, it’s important for you to not only give your child access to help, but encourage they use it. This means talking with your child about the steps to take in certain conditions. For instance, if you have 24/7 roadside assistance and your child gets a flat tire while out, make sure they have the roadside assistance number to call for help. Also, make sure your child know where their insurance card is at all times just in case they need it.
Install or activate the right safety equipment
Most of today’s vehicles are designed with the future in mind, so if your vehicle comes with certain safety features or even a Teen Driving option, then be sure to install or activate these items. Some adaptive driver assistance services include a backup camera, blind spot monitor alert, radio volume control, and so much more, and all of these can keep your teen safe. Plus, if your vehicle has a teen driver option, you could even receive a printout of where your child went and the speeds they used to get there.
Once a kid turns 16, they’ll often feel freedom associated with being able to drive away. However, it’s important to set limitations for your teen’s driving, especially during the beginning. For instance, maybe your teen can have the car every other day for a few hours, or maybe they can only take the vehicle to and from work until you feel more comfortable with their driving skills. Setting these limitations may seem like the worse thing for your child, but it will ultimately protect them in the long run.
Give your kid a map
While most vehicles and phones are equipped with map technology, giving your child a sense of direction away from technology is also important. After all, technology fails sometimes, and if your child is driving a used vehicle, it may not be equipped with this tech. The last thing you want is for your child to be completely unsure of where they are and how to get back. Let your child explore a map and the different streets in your neighborhood. It’s also important they understand routes to important places, such as school or work.
Sending your child off behind the wheel is tough, but using these tips will provide additional peace of mind.
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