Adding another driver to your home can alleviate some of your stress of getting everyone where they need to be by themselves. However, it can also increase your concerns about the safety of your child.
While you cannot assuredly prevent all of the risks of driving for your teen, you can teach and enforce responsible behaviors.
Knowing the risks
Even adults face risks when driving. However, your teenager, due to lack of experience, is at a substantially higher risk of accident or injury. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some dangers your teenager may face include the following:
- Ignoring seatbelt use
- Distraction and inattentiveness
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Inexperience with nighttime driving
With an accurate understanding of the risks your teen faces, you can set expectations and enforce rules to mitigate the dangers.
Using a driving contract
A driving contract is an excellent way to encourage compliance with the rules, address concerns and reward exemplary behavior. Remind your child that driving is a privilege that comes with responsibility. You can set rules related to when your teen can drive, how many passengers you will allow and guidelines for cellphone use. Part of your contract should address the consequences of breaking the rules. If your teenager does exhibit non-compliant behavior, immediate and consistent consequences may help to reinforce your teachings and expectations.
If your teenager does get hurt in a serious car accident, the outcome could have life-changing consequences. In situations where your teenager is the victim of someone else’s negligence, you may struggle even more to come to terms with the situation. Working with an attorney, you may choose to file a lawsuit to address the compensatory damages of the accident.