1. Every car is different, familiarize yourself with yours.
Once you have your license, it’s easy to want to get behind the wheel, start the ignition and take off before understanding all of the vehicle’s controls. Help new driver’s familiarize themselves with every control in the cabin.
2. Adjust your Driver Settings
Adjust the rearview and outside mirrors to gain the largest field of view and remove as many blind spots as possible. Proper position will allow greater steering control as well as increased vision around your vehicle.
3. Remove Distractions
Keep your eyes scanning well down the road and watchful of possible hazards from the roadsides as well. Also, note what’s immediately ahead of you to better anticipate what’s coming up next. If you’re fiddling with the radio or checking a text, your response time to make a quick stop, slow down or switch lanes will be seriously impeded. Looking forward also gives you time to plan for an impending emergency situation.
4. Maintain Distance and Remain Aware of Speed
Understanding what’s behind or around your car is just as important. Use your rear view and door mirrors every 15 to 30 seconds to quickly detect and respond to hazards, and always check your blind spots before changing lanes. Knowing what’s around your car in addition to what’s ahead will make you a more proactive driver.
Speeding results in countless fatalities each year. In addition to breaking the law, the consequences of speeding can be much more severe. When you speed, you risk loss of vehicle control and the ability to mitigate crash severity if you do experience a collision. Always remain cognizant of the speed limit on the road you’re traveling.
5. Establish Pre-Start Car Routine
Before starting the car, adjust mirrors and driving position and be sure that everyone in the vehicle fastens their safety belts. Whether it’s perceived peer pressure or a feeling of invincibility, teenagers generally wear seatbelts less than any other group. So make seatbelt use a priority and a condition that must be met for your teen to drive.
6. Practice. Practice. Practice
Young drivers can never get too much practice, so let your teen drive as much as possible after getting a learner’s permit. If you’re going to the store, school, soccer practice or wherever, let your teen get behind the wheel with you in the car.
7. Keep Calm
Teaching your teen to drive can push even the most patient parents over the edge, but it’s very important to never overreact while your teen is driving. Studies have shown that an emotionally charged conversation compromises driving performance, reduces attention span and increases distraction.
8. Talk to Your Teen While Driving
Take every opportunity to educate your teen while travelling together. Turn off the radio and talk about hazards you encounter. Some common themes may include watching downhill speed, spotting trouble ahead, braking sooner rather than later and watching the driving behavior of other cars.
9. Social media and Texting Can Wait
Driving requires complete focus and concentration, especially for new drivers. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Association study, teens 15 to 19 years old are involved in 10% of distracted driving crash fatalities.
10. Limit Nighttime Driving
Limit driving to daylight hours when teens first begin to drive. The nighttime accident rate for teen drivers is about three times as high as the daytime rate.