You have a new driver in the family! This milestone brings a new level of independence that is a big adjustment for both parents and kids. While your teen is excited, you can’t help but worry. There is good reason for concern: car crashes are known to be the leading cause of death in teens, ahead of all other injuries and illnesses. Your teen may have completed driving school and passed a licensing test with flying colors, and you may still feel some anxiety. Follow these tips to ensure your child returns home safely after every drive.
Nowadays, smartphones make it easy to navigate the world with a built in GPS. (Did you know you can also use it to track the whereabouts of your teen? Just turn on the app Find My Friends!) You never want your child to be lost, or stranded somewhere unfamiliar without the tools to make it home. Avoid a panic in case they are ever in need of assistance and out of service range - consider equipping the car with these helpful items:
- Driving monitors (check out this review from Consumer Reports of various products!)
- Car manual
- Basic first aid kit
- Car emergency kit complete with flashlight and extra batteries
- Spare GPS
- Phone charger
- Bottled water
- Snack bars
- Ice scraper and defroster (depending on climate where you live)
In case of emergency, having a ChildSafe kit can help identify and locate your teen. If you do not have one already, order your free kit online today. It will bring you peace of mind every time they leave the house.
You should feel confident that your teen knows how to operate a car safely and follows the law. Make sure you also set clear ground rules and boundaries. As soon as they start driving, sit down with your teen and create a driving agreement. Remember to always communicate curfews and follow-through with repercussions so your young driver can learn from their mistakes.
Accidents happen. It is crucial that you stay calm and not get angry should an accident occur. The most important thing is your child’s safety. Teach them the following steps ahead of time so they know what to do if they are ever in an accident:
- Pull off road to a safe area if possible and stop the car. Never leave it running.
- Take a second to breathe and check to make sure it is safe to get out of the car
- Check for injuries – yourself and passengers
- Call 911
- Collect names and contact information of everyone involved, including witnesses
- Exchange insurance and driver’s license information
- Take pictures and notes of everything that happened, including street lights and signs
- Wait for law enforcement
- With a parent’s help, contact your insurance company and file a claim
Be an Example
Above all else, lead by example: always wear a seatbelt, follow rules of the road, and refrain from texting and taking calls while driving. It is also important to make sure your teen knows they can count on you to help them get out of unsafe situations.
If you have taken these precautions, you can feel confident –not concerned– every time your teen hits the road.