One of every mother’s greatest stresses in life comes when her kids get their driver’s licenses and start hitting the road. Up to now, it’s been relatively easy to keep an eye on the children–to make sure they’re safe, hanging out with a good crowd, and staying out of trouble. Once driving enters into the equation, however, mothers everywhere are forced to trust their teens without being able to keep an eye on them. During this part of their lives, it’s important to do whatever we can to keep our kids safe.
Talk to them about the facts. For most teens, the prospect of driving inspires romantic visions of freedom on the road, not danger and responsibility. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone was killed every 15 minutes in the United States as a result of a car accident in 2004. That’s over 40,000 victims of automobile collisions in one year. Statistics like these shouldn’t be used to scare teens out of driving, but rather to make them realize the reality of getting behind the wheel.
Set some ground rules for the kids about driving. Setting a curfew would be a very prudent decision. In spite of your wishes, your teens are more than likely going to be heading out to parties once in a while, and if you’ve ever been young, you won’t be surprised that underage drinking is relatively common. Your teens should never be getting behind the wheel intoxicated, and setting a curfew is one of the best ways to make sure they stay safe. Talk to them about cell phone use in the car as well. Drivers talking and texting on the road is a major problem today, and illegal in many places.
Enrolling your teens in a driver’s education program is a great way to start. Most parents today teach their kids how to drive themselves, often working up to actual time on the road in baby steps. As beneficial as this can be, it also helps to get professional instruction. No one knows the rules of the road better than a certified driving instructor. Statistically, a teen driver’s first 500 miles on the road are more dangerous than any other time they’ll spend behind the wheel. Start them off right with a comprehensive driving education. As an bonus, many insurance providers offer cheap auto insurance rates to parents of teen drivers who complete driver’s education programs.
You and your kids should be going into this new chapter of life feeling as positive and secure as possible, and getting your teens off to a good start in driving is the best thing you can do. To be a good driver takes lots of experience on the road and a high level of maturity. Unfortunately, you can’t teach these things overnight. However, by getting started on the right track, you can help your teens develop into safe, responsible drivers that will make you proud to be a mother.