As a parent, you might feel just as excited as your teen when they reach the milestone driving age. However, you might also worry about their safety. After all, you have experience, and you know the road is a dangerous place.
Auto accidents are still the most common cause of serious and fatal injuries for teens between the ages of 13 and 19.
So, if your teen is close to getting their learner’s permit or driver’s license, you might wonder: what can you do to protect your teen driver?
- Understand the Graduated Driver License Program (GDL)
These programs are highly recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They allow learning and new drivers to:
- Develop their driving skills in an environment with lower risk
- Learn the risks of distracted and reckless driving
- Avoid risks behind the wheel
Parents can review the specific rules and guidelines of Texas’s GDL program with their children to better understand how this process can prepare their teen driver.
- Practice with them
There is no way to overstate the importance of practice.
Inexperience is one of the primary risks for teen drivers. And while teaching and practicing driving can be stressful for both parents and teens, it is often the best way to help teens learn to drive defensively and safely.
- Know the law – and make the rules clear
Parents should also take the time to understand the basics of Texas traffic laws. For example, the law requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up, or the driver could face a ticket and fines up to $200. Understanding these regulations – and making sure your teenager understands them too – is an important step to ensure teens are safe on the road.
In addition, you can also create your own rules for your teen driver to follow, including:
- Establishing a curfew, to help them avoid driving at night
- Limiting the number of passengers allowed in their vehicle
- Using apps to track if your teen is using their phone while driving
Creating and enforcing such rules can be difficult since many teenagers wish to be independent. However, parents should communicate with their children about the importance of safety, so they understand it is in their best interests.