Parenting a teenager eager to hit the road can be exciting and nerve-wracking. As your teenager starts to embrace the freedom of driving, they must adopt safe practices on the road that will stick with them forever. In California, an at-fault state, understanding the responsibility that comes with driving is paramount. Those responsible for causing an accident may be civilly and financially responsible for medical costs, property damages, and other accident-related expenses. Here’s a guide for young drivers to steer clear of accidents and ensure a smooth, safe ride on the road.

1. Distraction Detox: Keep Your Focus on the Road

One of the leading causes of accidents among young drivers is distracted driving. With the prevalence of smartphones, it’s tempting for teens to engage in activities like texting or scrolling through social media while driving. The alarming fact, as reported by Value Penguin, is that nearly one in 10 fatal car accidents result from distracted driving. Encourage your teen to establish a distraction-free zone in the car, emphasizing that their primary focus should always be on the road.

2. Speed Thrills, But It Kills: Obeying Speed Limits Matters

Young drivers may be tempted to push the speed limits in the excitement of newfound freedom. Driving too fast cranks up the odds of a crash and can seriously hamper your split-second response time. Drive home the point that respecting speed limits and adapting your driving tempo to match road conditions is crucial. Highlight that arriving safely is far more important than arriving quickly.

3. Defensive Driving: Anticipate, React, Stay Safe

Defensive driving is where you constantly anticipate and react to different scenarios on the road, ensuring a safe journey. Plan your moves, act smartly when needed, and never compromise on road safety. Instilling defensive driving concepts in beginner drivers could significantly shift their approach to the road. Highlight how crucial it is to stay one step ahead, always be ready for any danger that might pop up, keep enough room between you and the car in front, and constantly be alert to everything happening around you on the road.

4. The Gravity of Impaired Driving: Just Say No

Impaired driving, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or even prescription medications, is a serious offense with severe consequences. Chatting frankly with your teen about the real risks of driving under the influence is a must. Reinforce the importance of having a designated driver or alternative transportation if they ever find themselves in a situation where their driving ability is compromised.

5. Buckle Up for Safety: Seat Belts Save Lives

Instilling the habit of wearing seat belts is non-negotiable. Buckling up, quite simply, is a lifesaver. In an accident, your chances of walking away unhurt or alive shoot up when you’ve buckled up. Make it a rule in your household that everyone, regardless of age, must buckle up before the car starts moving.

6. Stay Aware of Traffic Laws: Be Specific to Your State

Knowing the ins and outs of California’s road rules is a must for newbie drivers. Make sure your rookie driver fully gets the big stuff, like interpreting traffic lights right and nailing down who goes first on the road, plus other key highway rules. Everyone on the road should know the rules of the road, including truck drivers. Zippa tells us more than 5,869 diesel truck drivers are currently employed in the U.S.

Parenting a young driver is responsible for imparting driving skills and a safety-first mindset. You can arm your teen with the knowledge and habits to dodge potential road calamities by honing in on these key areas. As teens build experience behind the wheel, parents should persistently impart safe driving habits through ongoing instruction, modeling prudent behavior, and mutually understanding the grave responsibilities of operating a vehicle.