Parents Assisting Inexperienced Drivers

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For the young teen, getting a driver's license is often referred to as the ritual of passage to adulthood and the parent's freedom. This is by far the most dangerous experience both the teen and parent will cross together.

A parent whose child is 16 years of age, by law, has to retain a certified driving instructor in preparing the teen for the complex world of the automobile and traffic.

If the child were 17 years old a wise parent would do the same. It's not enough for today's teenagers to learn as their parents did. The driving world they enter is far too intense to tackle without serious preparation. As a parent you are the one who cares most about yours teenager's driving ability and safety. You are responsible for your child's education. You send them to school to be educated in reading, writing and arithmetic for 12 years; teach them to become an educated well-rounded adult. Then why, when it comes to the NUMBER ONE TEEN KILLER, parents send their child out on the road with less then three months training?
Until the law for young drivers change nation wide, especially the GRADUATED DRIVERS LICENSE, parents have to take control in educating their own child on the pitfalls that await the amateur driver during the early stages of learning. In today's world we must teach defensive strategies. This is very important aspect and one that needs to be followed up after licensing to ensure that your teen continue to develop defensive driving skills and safe habits.
In our society today ROAD RAGE is out of control. Your teen needs to know what to do when this happens. Recently, a woman rolled her window down as a man whose car she tapped approaches her vehicle. To her shock the man grabbed the dog from her lap and threw the animal into oncoming traffic. ROAD RAGE today is part of daily driving and your teen needs to know that patience is a virtue. A parent should feel comfortable and safe when being a passenger in which their child is the driver. If a parent is nervous and jumpy then the child is not ready to be sent out on the over crowded roads by themselves.


Set guidelines for both of you. Have patience and respect for each other. It will take many hours, days, nights, and months to educate your child safely. Use the time with each other wisely. This is a time that you will look back on with a smile and ask yourself how did you both survive. But most important teach your child to Survive today's roads. Take the time to think of everything that has happened to you while driving and share your experiences.

Make sure you test your teen in all types of weather and traffic conditions. Don't just take the teen out on a sunny day or on less traveled roads. No one will learn that way. Remember your teen will only learn by experience and that takes time. Always remember that the teen's attitude changes when you are not in the vehicle. Just the way yours did at that age. Remember peer pressure? Being the first one in the group to have a driver's license. You couldn't wait to show off. So, don't think that when your child goes out on the roads alone he/she will be perfect. But try to instill safety in the teen.
  • As parents, driver's education should be more important to you then teaching your child the ABC's. Remember book learning never killed anyone
  • When your child is ready to take this step then while you are driving you should be explaining why you are doing different things.
  • Make up a scenario, ask your child what they would do and remember to ask how and why they reached that answer.
  • There is a reason behind everything and it is up to you to explain that reason. We have to understand why something is done. Not just be told to do it.
  • After your child received the driver's license that does not mean the education should stop. Everyday we all learn something new.

Take some of these suggestions into consideration.

1. Disconnect the radio
2. No friends in the car
3. No bending over to get something. Remember to show and explain why
4. No cell phone - only to be used in an emergency
5. Enroll in roadside service
6. Make sure the teen can change a tire
7. Make sure the teen has proper equipment in case of an emergency
8. Suggestions: flares, flashlights, heavy sweater, rope
9. Make sure the teen experiences driving in all types of weather conditions
10. Be the first with the teen in ice and snow. Explain, show and give reason why.

11. Be the first in heavy rains and flooding. Remember why
12. Make a list of what your teen still needs to learn as each seasons begins
13. Explain what to do when an animal runs out
14. Explain what to do when a person runs out
15. Explain what to do when speeding and you lose control
16. Explain what to do when you sway and you lose control
17. Explain what to do if someone hits the vehicle
18. Make a list of what to do and keep it in the glove compartment. We all get nervous and forget.

Be a passenger in a vehicle of a new driver. No matter what the excuses are, if you personally have not driven with the person then why would you let your child! You do not know how that teen drives and you could be putting your teen's life at risk. Is it worth it? You continue to drive your teen, your freedom should not begin until you have given your teen the experience to drive safely. Never assume that the other parent has done the same as you.

Practice is what helps make perfect. Remember it take those 12 years of teaching the three R's, so it should take longer than a few weeks to teach driving.

It is most important that YOU remember what has been taught to the teen.

One day you maybe making holiday visits to the cemetery to visit with your child.

Parents take control of teaching your teen to drive.

Do not leave it to someone else to teach behind-the-wheel. It may be too late to find out what the teen was not taught.

Remember that in most of the United States the schools no longer have driver's education and if some do it is only one marking period of book knowledge and just enough information for the teen to pass the written test.


Injuries from motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. The risk of death increased significantly for drivers transporting passengers.

Statistics show that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States, accounting for 36% of all deaths of persons aged 15 to 19 years. The rate is 7 times that of drivers aged 30 to 39 years. Two-thirds of the deaths of passengers aged 13 to 19 years occurred when teenagers were driving.

Driver deaths per 1000 crashes more than doubled for both male and female drivers when there were 2 or more male passengers and nearly doubled with 1 male passenger.

A survey of 192 high schools reported that dangerous driving behaviors were strongly associated with the presence of peers.

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