Getting behind the wheel of a car is not an action that should be taken lightly, regardless of a person’s age. Circumstances can change so quickly when out on the road, and harmful accidents can occur in the blink of an eye. For this reason, it is important for parents to discuss the rules of the road with their teens before they even start driving.
Driving in poor weather conditions is unsafe for all drivers, regardless of their experience. Teenage drivers often do not have the knowledge or experience to react quickly to increased danger in bad weather. When the roads are icy or dangerous, it is recommended to limit a teenager’s driving to lower risk of accidents. As your young driver gains more experience, you can slowly increase their unsupervised driving time.
During the learning process, be sure to give your teen extra practice behind the wheel. Drivers’ ed programs can be great, but hands-on practice may be limited by time and class size, so be sure to practice basic skills outside of the classroom once your child has their permit. Once they have the basics down consistently, slowly introduce other scenarios (like driving at night) to help them gain experience. As your teen progresses and obtains their license, it is important to have an agreement in place with your teenager to help monitor their safety as their independence grows. The AAP recommends using a Graduated Licensing Program (see the link for more information) to help your new driver go from a beginner to an independent and safe driver. You and your teen can also review and sign a safe driving agreement to help identify safety regulations and expectations while on the road. As with many other things in life, our children look to us for guidance and follow our example, so be sure to be a good driving role model for your teen and practice safe driving while on the road!
American Academy of Pediatrics. (February 13, 2017). Behind the Wheel: How to Help Your Teen Become a Safe Driver. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/safety/Pages/Behind-the-Wheel-Helping-Teens-Become-Safe-Drivers.aspx