For a teenager, getting the chance to take his or her parent's car out for the first time is arguably the greatest day of their lives. For a parent, the first time a child takes his or her car is likely the most stressful day of their lives. Yet this occurs countless times as teenagers get their licenses and want to explore a whole new world.
Despite this excitement, teenage drivers represent the highest risk group of people to be involved in fatal accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Because of this, teen driving safety has become a national focus.
In light of these ominous statistics, parents have a number of advantages in their favor in keeping their children safe. First, they have the opportunity to have open and frank conversations about safe driving habits. As described through Safercar.gov, parents are the primary influence on children's behavior, and by starting the conversation about safe driving early, teen drivers can develop the proper foundation for driving safely when they are on their own (or pressured by peers).
Parents also have the advantage of setting an example by showing their children how they drive. The old adage of "children watch your every move" is true. If kids see that you talk on your cell while weaving in and out of traffic, chances are that they will feel like they can do the same. If they see you being responsible, it is likely that they will follow suit.
Most importantly, parents can set their expectations out in writing for a child to understand and agree to. By establishing a written contract, parents can teach their children safe driving habits, and help them develop integrity by doing what they say they are going to do.
Source: Safecar.gov, Parents Central: Keeping kids safe