Top 5 Ways To Help Your Teen be a Safe Driver

Tips for Raising a Safe Teen Driver
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Handing over your keys to your teen can be an incredibly nerve-racking experience. But, for teens, it’s a giant step toward independence and adulthood.

Just because your teen is old enough to drive, it doesn’t mean he’s mature enough to get behind the wheel. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to increase the chances that your teenager will be able to handle the responsibility of being a safe driver.

To gain more insight into what parents can do to raise a safe driver, I interviewed Kim Quinones, who manages and oversees sales, service, and customer retention programs for Access Auto Insurance. She offers these five tips for raising a child who will become a safe driver:

1. Set a Great Example

From toddler to teen, your child should look up to you as a paragon of driving safety virtue. It’s a high bar, and as we all know far easier said than done. However, if your children see you cursing other drivers, cutting them off, weaving, honking, speeding, texting and running yellow lights, how do you think they will behave when they get behind the wheel?

2. Lay Down the Law on Texting

According to Don’t Text and Drive, texting is about 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving while intoxicated, and 23 times more likely to crash—causing more than 1.6 million accidents per year.

Set a good example and never text while you are driving.

Make sure your teen recognizes the seriousness of the issue. Lay the groundwork for judicious cellphone use by establishing basic rules, such as no texting during meals and study time. Consider a smartphone app that will prevent your teen from texting while driving.

3. Address Alcohol in No Uncertain Terms

Teens should understand the consequences of driving under the influence well before they get their learner’s permit.

There’s plenty of graphic imagery of alcohol-induced accidents online to get their attention, if all else fails. In addition to or instead of shock tactics, explain the practical consequences of a DUI: losing all driving privileges, fines, jail time and embarrassment among their peers are strong deterrents.

4. Stress the Importance of Car Maintenance

In addition to learning driving technique, teens must also understand the importance of proper maintenance—even the safest drivers are vulnerable when their car is unsafe. Teach your teen how to check tire pressure and use an air hose, how to tell when brakes or the transmission need service, and even things as “routine” as how to replace windshield washer fluid.

5. Hold Your TeenAnd YourselfAccountable

Driving is a privilege. As such, your teen will be a safer driver if he has a personal stake in safe driving. Consider requiring your teen to pay a portion of the auto insurance premium, taking away driving privileges for a healthy period of time for breaking whatever driving rules you set, and requiring him to pay for and take care of routine car maintenance.


You will be more confident in your teen’s ability to drive safely if you hold yourself accountable for driver’s education. Whether or not your teen goes to driving school, you will help your teen—and acquire more peace of mind—if you spend plenty of time in the passenger seat when your teen is behind the wheel.

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