October 14-20, 2012 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and for those Macaroni Parents with a teenager at home, it's never too early to start talking about safe driving behaviors.
Next, think about your own driving habits. Do you wear your seat belt? Do you talk or text while driving? Do they see you drink and then get behind the wheel? Kids – even teens – will repeat what they see, so make sure you're setting the best example possible.
Here are some tips to offer your new drivers:
- Always wear your seat belt – and make sure everyone else in the vehicle does, too.
- Avoid all distractions including cell phones, eating, applying makeup and changing the radio/CD/iPod.
- Never drink and drive and never get in a vehicle with a driver who has been drinking.
- Obey the speed limit. Plan to leave a few minutes earlier to avoid having to rush.
- Exercise extra caution in work zones and around tractor-trailers.
As a parent, you may also want to limit the number of passengers in your teen's vehicle since more passengers can lead to increased distraction and a greater risk of crash. In fact, many state laws
already have passenger restrictions and other rules related to graduated licensing.
Parents should also make sure their children receive plenty of supervised practice in all types of driving conditions. This can either be at home with you, as part of driver education at school, at a private driver training center or a combination.
Finally, some safety organizations recommend making a Parent-Teen driving contract that sets explicit rules and behaviors, and consequences for breaking those rules.