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Driving Safety Tips for Parents

It is common for a parent to feel stress when a teen is learning to drive a car, but the time can become a shared learning experience for parent and teen.

  • Talk to your teens about safe driving before they ever get behind the wheel.
    • Emphasize that a car is a tool – not a toy and that driving is a privilege that must be earned.
    • Allow your teen to sit in the front passenger seat so they can see the road from your perspective.
    • Point out hazards that may not be apparent to an inexperienced driver. Call their attention to errors other drivers make and discuss what the driver should have done and why.
    • Allow your teen to ask you questions about your driving habits or mistakes. Be a model of safe driving yourself. Your teen will pay attention to what you do as well as what you say.
  • Pick the right kind of car.
    • A sports car or vehicle with a high-performance engine is not the best choice; nor is an older car without modern safety features such as air bags. A better choice is a mid-sized sedan with properly functioning safety belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, and daytime running lights.
    • Be sure the car is in good repair. Lights and signals should work properly. Wheels should be in alignment and the tires have good tread. The braking system should operate smoothly and effectively.
    • If possible, allow your teen to learn to drive in the car that he/she will be driving after licensure.
  • Learn the GDL specifications in your state.
    • GDL requirements vary from state to state and should be viewed as minimum requirements. Your teen may need more hours of driving practice than your state requires. You understand your teen’s maturity level best. Remember that you really are in charge of your teen’s driving privileges although you may not always feel like you are.
    • Oklahoma's GDL
  • Complete and enforce a parent-teen driving contract.
    • A driving contract helps your teen know what your expectations are and helps you respond consistently to violations of the contract or requests for exceptions to the rules.
    • A driving contract helps you track your teen’s progress in acquiring driving skills and allows you to reward your teen as mastery is achieved.
    • Your car insurance company may have a program that can assist you in logging and tracking your teen’s progress and may help your teen qualify for a better insurance rate.
  • Whether your teen takes a driver education course or you do the teaching yourself — be patient and stay calm.

Links to More Resources for Parents

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