Are you are looking for some tips to get your kids to take driving safety seriously? Here are eight potential ideas …
If you are parent to a teen who has recently passed their driving test, they’ll most likely to be chomping at the bit to get behind the wheel (I know I was). While this is an incredibly exciting time for them, it can also be a dangerous one if not taken seriously. In the UK alone, young drivers are fined a whopping £40.7 million every year and Regulatory law solicitors will confirm that a large percentage of these fines are from speeding. Anyone can be caught speeding, but a lack of experience from young drivers leads to easy mistakes and potential accidents, or even penalties.
As a parent, you want to keep your child safe, and this extends to car safety too. Here are eight ways you can help teach them road safety, as well as some ways to encourage them to take it more seriously.
8 Ways to Get Your Child Driving Safely
1. Take Your Kids Driving in Between Paid Lessons
Let’s face it, driving lessons are expensive! The average UK price is now £23 per lesson, and can be considerably higher if you don’t buy them as a bundle. Because of the cost, a lot of new drivers don’t have as many lessons as they really need before taking their test.
As parents, we can help here by taking our kids out in between lessons so that they become more familiar with driving, and with other road users in varying conditions. Bear in my mind that if they’re new to driving, then everything you say will be absorbed as part of the learning process (so you can feel reassured you’ve taught them well)!
2. Can We Fix It?
Teaching your teen basic car maintenance will not only save money, but it will also instil in them a sense of responsibility for the vehicle. Being able to perform maintenance and minor repairs is a great way of adding a layer of security, and may be invaluable if your child is out driving alone in a quiet area.
3. Limiting People in The Car
When your teen first starts driving their own car, there’s a chance that they’ll be tempted to fill it with friends to create their own version of a movie style road trip (even if they’re only driving to the nearest McDonalds – remember those days?).
While driving with friends can be fun, it can also prove to be a distraction for a new driver. For this reason, it’s a good idea to set a rule – at least for the first six months or so – of having no more than two passengers in the car with them. This will help to cut down the risk of accidents, silly behaviour and distractions as they are finding their feet (or wheels).
4. Don’t Hold the Phone
It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in the UK without a hands-free kit. Falling foul of this law can result in up to six penalty points and a £200 fine. It’s extremely dangerous to use a phone whilst driving, as it only takes a split for something to happen.
As we all know, teens love to text and talk on their phones all the time. The sound of that ping from their phone can often trump good sense. When your child is first starting to drive, it’s a good idea to get hold of an app which will silence devices when it detects high speed movement of a mobile phone. Apps like CellControl can be used to ensure that your teen is not distracted by their phone while driving and can subsequently increase safety. You can also utilise apps like TurboPhoneSpy in order to monitor your teen’s phone use when they’re out and about, even if it’s just temporary so you know they’re being safe.
5. Hit the right note
Another thing that young people really really like is music. On getting their first car, most will have visions of the freedom of the open road with their favourite music blasting as they drive. There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with a little driving music, however, playing music too loud while driving can be distracting. It can also prevent the driver hearing sounds from the road, such as other cars and sirens.
Where possible, set and lock the volume in your teen’s car when they first start driving in order to ensure that they’re not becoming distracted by their music.
6. Don’t Eat and Drive
We’ve all been guilty of snacking in the car at one time or another. While this can be fine for seasoned drivers, new drivers may be biting off more than they can chew.
Eating and drinking behind the wheel is not technically illegal but you can be charged for careless driving should anything happen as a result. Don’t encourage your child to take snacks and drinks with them while driving. Instead, suggest pulling over and being stationary if they feel they need a break.
7. Remind Them of the Obvious
You would like to think that your child would never even dream of drinking or using drugs while driving. Unfortunately, studies show that one in five young people admit to driving under the influence. The results of this can be horrific, so take time to keep reminding them they’re risking losing more than just their license if they ever consider driving under the influence. A little tough love is required for this one by making it clear that driving in such conditions will result in driving privileges being withdrawn.
It’s also worth pointing out to your kid that three teen drivers are killed or seriously injured through drink driving each and every day in the UK. Remind them they can rely on you to pick them up if they’re ever in the situation where they can’t drive home.
8. Lead by Example
This may seem obvious, but setting a good example for your teen driver is a really good way of steering them onto the right path for safety on the road. Children have a tendency to note and copy parental behaviour, so when your teen is in the car with you, avoid any bad habits that you may have slipped into.
You could also try talking them through your thought process when doing certain manoeuvres, approaching a roundabout or anything else they maybe find tricky about driving.
The Importance of Safe Driving Can’t be Stressed Enough…
Safe and considerate driving is a skill which, when mastered, will last your teen a lifetime. It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of this. As excited as your child may be about their new status of being a qualified driver, don’t be afraid to set boundaries for your own peace of mind and ultimately for their safety and others. Make sure to follow through on consequences if trust is ever breached involving the car, as consequences in serious accidents can be so much worse.
Joshua Hoehne https://unsplash.com/photos/WPrTKRw8KRQ