Any parent with a new driver in the family is searching — sometimes grasping — for a little more peace of mind. Your baby is now getting behind the wheel for the first time in the real world. This can be terrifying.
But that fear can be eased, at least somewhat, if you take control of the situation and get a little proactive when it comes to keeping your child safe on the road.
Nothing will make driving completely safe. There is always some risk involved. With the following tips, however, you can keep the new driver in your life much, much safer when he or she gets behind the wheel.
1. Drivers Education
It goes without saying that drivers education is a great investment of your time and money. In many locations, it is effectively required before you can even get a license — and it certainly teaches any driver a lot about road safety.
Beyond just going through the motions, though, parents would be wise to take an active role in their teen’s driver education. Don’t trust that they are picking up all the necessary info just because they were able to retain it for a few weeks to pass a test. Ask questions and see how they react. This way, you’ll see firsthand that they understand the concepts — rather than just relying on a state-issued approval.
2. Automobile Safety
Beyond making sure your kid understands all the traffic laws, it will help you sleep easier at night to know that he or she is driving in a safe vehicle. The good news here is that most cars on the road today are relatively safe compared to the past. There are nowhere near as many lemons out there. We’ll probably never hear about anything like the exploding Ford Pinto again.
But there are still differences. You don’t necessarily have to break the bank to splurge on the most expensive new car on the lot. But be sure to look at the safety ratings and get all the available options when it comes to airbags and other key features. After that, make sure the automobile he or she drives is always up to snuff. Regular checkups should become the norm on any car that you let your child drive.
3. Auto Insurance Protection
The final requirement to safer driving is auto insurance. To some degree, this is mainly aimed at protecting your financial security. Having a policy won’t necessarily lead to accident avoidance on the highway.
Still, it is important to have the broadest coverage you can afford in your area. And it can help to sit down with your child and explain the policy to them. Not only does this familiarize them with the common risks of the road, but some insurers offer incentives — like safe driving courses and savings for a clean traffic record — that will reinforce the benefits of driving well.
Staying Safe at Any Age
For every teen, getting their license is a rite of a passage. It’s something they look forward to for years and is a big step toward becoming an adult. For every parent, this same moment is a nightmare.
You can take some steps to keep your child safer, however. Be sure they take the best drivers ed in the area — and you take an active role in that education. Put them in the safest automobile you can. And always get high-level auto insurance coverage to protect the family in the event an accident does occur.
None of this will eliminate all the fears of a parent. But it will keep your new driver that much safer — and maybe help you stay sane!