My teen is driving; Now what?

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When you’re teaching your teen to drive and helping them through driver education, getting that coveted license seems like the light at the end of the tunnel. That’s what you’ve been working towards together, but it’s important to remember that once they pass the test, your work isn’t over. There’s still plenty of work to be done during the first few years of your teen’s driving experience to make sure that they continue to form good habits and stay safe behind the wheel. Read on to check out some of our tips and advice for parents of new drivers!

Set Expectations: Have a conversation early on about the expectations you have for their driving. Many sources suggest creating a New Driver Deal which is basically a contract between you and your teen, outlining expectations for driving habits and how meeting (or not meeting) those expectations will impact their driving privileges. Here, you can outline things like how late at night they’re allowed to drive, where they can drive (or if they need to ask permission before driving certain places), whether or not they’ll be expected to pay for their own gas, etc. Be sure to set regular intervals (maybe every three or six months) to revisit the contract and reevaluate, as the older your child gets and the longer they’ve been driving, the more freedoms they’ll need (and deserve).

Keep Them Prepared: We recommend that every driver (no matter how experienced) keep a roadside emergency kit in their vehicle. These kits contain the supplies you’ll need to address minor emergencies along the road, such as a flat tire or a dead battery. You can build your own kit fairly easily, or purchase one online or in an auto parts store. Whether you decide to build or buy, go through the kit with your teen before you put it in the car they’ll be driving, and make sure that they understand what to do in a roadside emergency and how to use the tools you’ve provided.

Keep Driving with your Teen: Just because you don’t need to help your teen meet mandatory driving hours anymore or help them practice for their test, it doesn’t mean that you should stop driving with your child. If you’re going somewhere together, ask them to drive sometimes. It’s the easiest and most natural way to keep an eye on their driving habits now that they’re relaxing behind the wheel and don’t always have someone over their shoulder. Having you in the car will probably make them drive more carefully than when they’re on their own, but their subconscious driving habits will still show.

Monitor Their Habits: There are plenty of apps, gadgets and resources to monitor your teen’s driving habits, even when you’re not around. Apps like Canary and MamaBear allow you to monitor actions like texting while driving or exceeding certain set speeds. For even more connectivity, Bouncie connects your phone to a transmitter in the car, and will alert you of everything from rapid acceleration to the car moving past a set curfew or moving outside of set “Geo Circles.” Our friends with Rockland Chrysler Jeep Dodge tell us that some newer vehicles even come equipped with built-in teen driver technologies, such as the Chrysler Pacifica’s Teen-Driver KeySense fob, which activates settings like a top speed limit, maximum radio volume, and lockable satellite radio stations. Some other in-vehicle teen-driver systems offer features like disabling audio while seatbelts are unbuckled and reporting drive information like speed and location.

If you have a teen who recently passed their driver’s test, congratulations! But don’t think you’re work is done. There’s still plenty to do to make sure that your teen continues to develop and practice safe driving habits. Follow these tips to keep your young driver safe and prepared, and remember that the habits they form now will stick with them for the rest of their driving careers.

  

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