It takes a great amount of time and practice to become a good driver. According to the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State, “Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-20. Nearly one in five licensed 16-year- olds are in a vehicle crash and, per mile driven, his/her fatality rate is roughly three to five times that of drivers in their 30s, 40s or 50s.” As parents, you play a vital and influential role every time you get behind the wheel. Are you buckling your seatbelt? Do you check all of your mirrors before changing lanes? How about coming to a complete halt at stop signs? It’s quite possible you answered no to a few (or all) of the previous questions. Here are our top five tips to remedy your poor driving habits:
- Drive courteously. There is no need to tailgate, cut people off, or yell profanities. Don’t be an angry driver. No one likes an angry driver.
- Don’t drive distracted. We know you’re used to multitasking, but try not to do this while operating a vehicle, especially when children are present. As a parent, you might feel pressured to do several things at once, but you should abstain from texting, eating, putting on makeup or anything else that could compromise your safety or the safety of your passengers.
- Always be prepared. Show your teen the importance of being prepared for anything and everything that could happen while you’re on the road. Consider equipping your vehicle with a roadside emergency kit (jumper cables, traffic cones, flashlight, etc.).
- Maintain a positive attitude. Try not to drive when you are emotionally distressed. Calm yourself down before you start your vehicle – even if it makes you a little late to your destination. Embody positivity, calmness, and confidence when you drive.
- Encourage questions. Promote healthy dialogue between you and your teen. Go over a few core safe driving tips and scenarios. Provide a positive and welcoming environment when coaching on rules of the road.
Remember, your teen is watching you. How you behave in these situations greatly effects your teen’s driving behavior. Help your teen become an Intelligent Driver! Sit down with your teen and review and sign our Top Driver Parent/Teen Driving Contract.
Interested in learning more? Click here to view more tips about being a role model to your teen driver.