Teenagers can have a bad reputation on the road, so parents should work to encourage good driving habits early on. With the distractions of technology making teens more prone to accidents every year, there has never been a better time for parents to explain to their young ones that road safety is no joke. Besides keeping teenagers safe, parents can benefit from reduced maintenance costs and lower auto insurance rates when they actively discuss their kids' learning process on the road.
Encouraging discussion early on
Speaking to teenagers about safe driving is always better than remaining silent, even if parents don't have an established approach to the conversation. Young adults are inquisitive people and will often ask questions once they feel comfortable talking about a topic. A recent article from Claims Journal pointed to a Travelers survey, which revealed the importance of parent-teen conversations in the development of safe driving habits for young motorists. The study showed that while 96 percent of teens have had discussions with their parents about driving, the topic of road safety cannot be repeated enough.
"The results reinforce that parents who actively discuss safe driving habits can have a strong positive influence on teen driving," Henry Edinger, Chief Customer Officer for Travelers, told the news source. "It's critical that parents and teens are on the same page about driving dangers and are clearly communicating the consequences for not following the rules of the road."
While there may be some disconnect between parents and teens with regard to texting while driving, operating under the influence, and road awareness, the survey showed that it is crucial for adults to speak with their children early on to maximize the impact of their conversations. Sixty-seven percent of 16-year-olds reported that they would like to talk more about driving safety, while only 29 percent of 18-year-olds expressed the same desire. Younger drivers can be apprehensive behind the wheel and need to learn from people they trust, so parents should start discussions sooner than later.
When conversations are not enough
Open discussions with parents can help young drivers learn the basics of safe driving, but practice and experience is often the best way to learn. Although teen drivers are often required to take basic classes before hitting the road, few inexperienced motorists know how to handle more treacherous situations. According to CBS Minnesota, a Tire Rack Street Survival course teaches teenagers how to properly skid, use their emergency brakes, and perform evasive maneuvers they might otherwise not learn from parents.