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Helping Your Teen Become a Safe Driver

Topic Overview

Most parents are nervous about their teenager driving a car. As a parent, you are right in your concern. While teenagers only account for 6% of all drivers (6 out of 100), young drivers ages 15 to 20 are involved in 13% of fatal crashes (13 out of 100).1

Most teens learn to drive by taking driver's education classes. While teens are learning to drive, they need to get as much experience as possible with another adult in the car. Not all parents have the temperament to do this, though. If you find yourself screaming at your teen or making sarcastic remarks, ask another adult family member or friend to help out.

Don't let your teen drive alone—even after he or she gets a license—until your teen has had enough experience and until you as a parent feel comfortable with your teen's driving skills. Also, make sure your teen has enough supervised experience driving in adverse conditions, such as rain or snow or at night, before you allow him or her to drive in these conditions unsupervised.

Some things about driving that parents need to emphasize:

  • Don't eat, use a cell phone, or take your eyes off the road for even a moment while you are driving. Even using the radio can distract drivers and cause accidents. Headphones should never be worn by drivers.
  • Drive defensively. Look out for other drivers.
  • Make sure your car (tires, brakes, etc.) is in safe condition.
  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is both dangerous and illegal. Riding in a car with a driver under the influence is life-threatening.
  • Don't drive when you are tired.
  • Seat belts must always be worn by the driver and passengers.

Remember to always set a good example for your child.

References

Citations

  1. National Center for Statistics and Analysis, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2007). Young drivers. Traffic Safety Facts. Available online: http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811001.PDF.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Current as of September 17, 2013

Current as of: September 17, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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