Safety Tips for Parents of New Teen Drivers

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Watching your kid transition from a learner’s permit to a driver’s license may give you a feeling of deja vu, like a reboot of a John Hughes movie unfolding before your eyes. All the plot twists, conflicts, and resolutions you went through in getting your own license may be coming back to life in a coming-of-age tale starring your kid—the same kid whose diapers you used to change, whose first steps you watched while lining the way with pillows, and whose head you protected with a helmet when they were first learning how to ride a bike. Believe it or not, that kid is behind the wheel now, and your job isn’t to steer it from the side—it’s to guide them into making the right choices on their own. Remember that feeling of independence when you were finally able to drive yourself and your friends anywhere your hearts desired? Remember all the shenanigans you guys got up to? Understandably, that may be the very reason you’re terrified now.

Not to worry—your teen driver’s excitement is most likely balanced out with a healthy amount of fear, as it should be because getting behind the wheel for the first time is a great responsibility. Not only are they responsible for their (or your) vehicle, but they also have a responsibility to their passengers and others on the road. They know that safety is paramount, but in the excitement of the moment, they may forget the crucial basics they (already or will have) learned in driving school.
In this article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know as the parent (or
grandparent, aunt, uncle, or guardian) of a teen driving for the first time.

Help Your Teen Get through Driver’s Ed
Before your teen gets the opportunity to take the driver’s test, some states like California will require them to attend a driver’s education (or “driver’s ed”) class. Driver’s ed is specifically designed for new drivers. It will equip them with the know-how to legally obtain a driver’s license and understand the risks involved. These classes are offered in some local high schools as a school-sponsored program, but some are restricted by low budgets, which could affect the quality of instruction. As AAA spokesperson Tom Crosby said, “We are killing too many kids because they have not been taught correctly.” Research driver’s ed programs in your area and help the teen in your life choose the best one. Attending driver’s ed is essential, even if your state does not require it. It will help your teen learn the following skills to make them a great driver.

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