Hailee is a 16-year-old student from Pittsgrove, NJ. She enjoys music, going to concerts, and writing. She hopes to major in Marketing (ex. Business and Interactive Media) in college.
Having a teen drive off alone for the first time can be a very scary thing for a parent. Many parents have a hard time “letting go” of their teens when they get their license and are free to go about the roads. But I’m here to help tell parents how you can work with your teens and begin to “let go” and let your teen drive away.
1. Practice with your teen when they have their permit.
Having the time practicing driving with your teen can help you get the idea of how your teen drives. This time together will not only be “bonding time” but it is also a time where you can see how your teen drives. When you are driving with your teen you can look to see where your teen needs improvement, and being a more experienced driver you can help give advice in ways to improve their driving skills.
2. Set rules with your teens.
Many teens are always tempted to reach for the phone no matter what situation they’re in, and being a new driver the concept of “don’t text and drive” may become more difficult to comprehend. So, as parents, you can set the rule—lock your phone in the glove compartment until they arrive at their set destination, or if they hear the phone go off, pull over to a safe spot and respond to the message. Eliminating the issue of texting and driving can really help parents’ nerves about their new driver because they know that they will not be distracted with a text.
Just remember, people who text while driving believe that they will not be affected by this activity. In reality, the average time it takes to read a text is just 5 seconds, however, in just 5 seconds, a car traveling at 55 miles per hour will cover the distance of a football field, 300 feet.
3. Have curfews and limit passengers.
In most states across the country there is a curfew on new drivers as to when they can be on the roads, but it may even be good for parents to set curfews themselves if they do not feel comfortable with the curfew teens are given. Having a curfew will limit the range your teen can go, and it will also be helpful for you to keep track of where they are at, and what time they will be back home. The same thing goes for limiting the number of passengers, certain states have certain rules, but if you have a limit with your teen of the number of people they can have in their car at once it can also limit the distraction level that your teen will face.
4. Have an in-car camera.
If you have hit the point to where you are so nervous you need to see how your teen is driving and/or where they are going, you can invest in an in-car camera. In-car cameras have been proven to make teens drive safer since in a sense their parents are “still in the car with them”. Having this camera will allow you to see what your teen is doing while driving, and also give your teen the extra boost to make sure that they are in fact driving safely.
Any way you pick to cope with your teen getting their license, it will still be a very difficult time to face as a parent, but it you have the right tools and communication with your teen you can make it work for the both of you.
Photo Credit-Kumhotire from Flickr