Every teenager looks forward to getting their driver’s license. Likewise, every parent is equally as excited to watch their son or daughter grow up to face new experiences and challenges.
Along with this excitement, however, there is an element of worry. Parents know that driving can be fun and liberating, but that it can also be dangerous. In Australia, young drivers (those aged 17-25 years) account for a quarter of all road deaths.
According to the Young Driver Fact Base, a 17-year-old driver with a P1 licence is 4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver aged more than 26 years.
The numbers alone are likely to strike fear in the heart of any parent of a prospective or new teen driver. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help your teenage son/daughter to drive safely.
Here are our Top 5 driving tips for your teenager to “Be Safer and Drive Smarter”:
1. Parental Involvement Matters:
Teens with parents who set rules and pay attention to their activities in a helpful, supportive way are less likely to crash.
How to drive smarter: Lead by example and talk openly to your teens about expectations for when your child is behind the wheel: communicate key messages such as don’t drink and drive, wear a seat belt, focus on the road, never text while driving.
2. Curfews are Key:
Research shows that young drivers have more crashes at night, compared to drivers aged 25 years or older.
How to drive smarter: Set a curfew to keep teenage drivers off the road during the hours of 9pm-6am.
3. Limit Passengers:
For teenagers, the relative risk of a fatal crash increases as the number of passengers increases.
How to drive smarter: Put a cap on the number of passengers allowed in your teen’s car.
4. Out of Sight, Out of Mind:
Driver distraction has been estimated to account for around one quarter of car crashes. Talking or texting on a mobile phone while driving can dramatically increase the likelihood of an accident.
How to drive smarter: Follow this advice: ignition on, cell phone off.
5. Speak Up:
A recent survey revealed that less than half of teens would speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them.
How to drive smarter: Empower and encourage teenage drivers to exercise their rights as passengers.
A parent-driver contract is one way to ease concern for parents of new drivers and establish a basis of trust. A contract provides the opportunity to form an open line of communication between parents and teenagers about the importance of safety and the expectations that come with the new and profound responsibility of driving.
To download a free parent-driver contract, or other resources to empower your teenager to learn to drive and to drive safely, visit Aussie Driver.