If your teen is just starting to drive, they’ve been learning from you, as a parent, for longer than you realize. In fact, they likely started subconsciously picking up on your driving habits from the day they first drove in the car with you. It’s no secret that teenagers replicate their parents’ driving behavior, so it’s extraordinarily important to model good driving habits for your teen, especially when they first begin driving.
1. Put the phone away
The first step to demonstrating safe driving behavior is to show the importance of staying focused while driving. Eliminate the leading distraction in the car—your phone—by turning it off and placing it in the glove compartment.
2. Establish a routine
Every time you drive your kids somewhere, establish a routine before you leave the driveway. Seat belts on, adjust the mirrors and program your GPS. By verbally repeating these steps before every drive, you’ll establish a routine that your teen can make their own habit.
3. Watch your speed
It’s easy to start driving faster than normal without realizing it. Make a conscious effort to reduce your speed, and remind your children that you’re doing so. When you reiterate that you’re slowing down, they will remember to do the same when they get behind the wheel.
4. Avoid road rage
Reacting with anger while driving will teach your teenage children to do the same. If someone cuts you off on the highway, or unnecessarily honks at you, don’t react with anger. Instead, stay calm and ignore any erratic behavior from other drivers. Set an example that it’s important to stay calm and focused while driving.
Teenagers model behavior of their role models, especially when it comes to driving behavior. Take these steps to more closely pay attention to how you drive, and it could help your teen establish safe driving habits. Next time you get behind the wheel, be an example and model good driving habits for your teen.