When your teenager is finally old enough to drive themselves places, you may breathe a big sigh of relief. It can consume a huge amount of time to transport your children to and from school every day, as well as to any sports practices or other extracurricular activities they enjoy.
When your high school student gets their driver’s license and can first start driving independently, your schedule will open up in ways that may free up a lot of your time. However, letting your teen driver transport themselves and possibly their siblings to school and to extracurricular activities comes with significant risks.
Teen drivers are at higher risk than most licensed adults to experience injurious or fatal collisions. What are some of the biggest risks that you can help your teen avoid during the school year?
Distraction is a huge issue for young drivers
The research into distracted driving makes it very clear that no driver can truly multitask safely. However, the less experience a driver has, the more likely they are to make mistakes when they add secondary issues, like distraction, into the mix.
Even if you know your teen driver won’t text at the wheel, having their siblings or friends in the vehicle with them can also be a dangerous source of distraction. You may need to limit them to only one passenger at a time or no passengers at all until they have more practice driving.
Both alcohol and drug use play an outsized role in causing teenage collisions. Young adults don’t know when to stop, and they also have brains that have yet to fully mature. They may fail to even consider the risks, leading them to make impulsive and devastating mistakes.
Speeding and unsafe maneuvers
Both emotional reactions to personal situations and conversations with occupants might lead to teen drivers performing unsafe maneuvers. They may go speeding through parking lots to mark up the pavement while doing donuts or try driving the wrong way down a one-way street because they assume they won’t get caught.
Talking with your new driver about the possibility of a car crash and working with them to minimize their risks can benefit both of you in the long run.