Child Health, Your Health tlong05 | 8 years ago

What Parents Can Do to Ensure Their Young Driver’s Safety

It’s no secret that young drivers are at the greatest risk for a motor vehicle crash. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young people ages 15-24 represent only 14 percent of the U.S. population, yet they account for 30 percent of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males, and 28 percent among females. It’s important for parents to take an active role as their young driver learns the skill of driving a car. A driving test at the DMV is helpful, but there’s no substitute for a parent’s advice and demonstration of ways to stay safe on the roads.

Advice for Parents of New Drivers

  • Always drive safely and model correct driving behavior. Young drivers learn most from watching you.
  • Before hitting the road, help young drivers anticipate traffic risks they may encounter.
  • Teach new drivers how to communicate intent to other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Discuss how to handle emergencies such as driving off the road, skidding and tire blowouts.
  • If your young driver makes a mistake, correct it immediately but wait to discuss it in more detail after the driving session. Have your young driver practice the following skills in a variety of situations: stopping and braking distance, turns at different speeds and locations, lane changes, use of mirrors, controlling speed, safe following distance, yielding, parking and driving in parking lots.
  • If you have observed risky driving behavior with your new driver -- lack of skill, immaturity or poor decision making while driving -- consider requiring more practice before allowing your young driver to advance to the next level of licensure.

A parent-young driver contract sets clear expectations and can help the new driver stay safe on the road. It encourages open conversation about appropriate driving behavior and allows the young driver to make a commitment to safe practices. Complete the contract now (PDF).