Raising children is a difficult and often thankless task, yet it is also one of the most rewarding jobs there is. One of the most important stages of raising a child is once they reach the age where they begin to think about driving. Many parents often have difficulties when their child reaches this age, though, due to the increased responsibility that is required from driving a car. They then tend to become overbearing when their child learns to drive. Rather than falling into this typical trap, learn all the necessary tips and tricks required to raise an excellent new driver.
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How Many New Drivers Are There Yearly?
While it may seem like your child is the only new driver on the road as you begin to ride around in a car with them, rest assured knowing a large number of parents are in the same boat. In the last five years, there were 15.4 million new drivers on U.S. roadways, averaging out to around 3 million new drivers on a yearly basis. While not all of these drivers are in their teenage years, an extremely large portion are.
Who is Most at Risk for a Car Accident?
It may not be a pleasant thought to consider, but it’s important to look at who is most at risk for a car accident to understand which group needs to be most vigilant. The risk of a motor vehicle crash is higher among those aged 16-19 as compared to any other age group, with drivers in this category also having a fatal crash rate almost three times higher than those aged 20 or older. Drilling down even further, those who are 16 have a 1.5 times higher chance of being involved in a crash than even those who are 18-19 years old.
Leading Causes of Car Accidents
It’s one thing to understand that your child’s age group is most at risk for a car accident, but it’s something else entirely to actually understand where the danger comes from. The leading causes for car accidents in the U.S. and globally include:
- Drivers who are driving in poor weather conditions they are inexperienced in
- Novice drivers disobeying traffic laws and driving recklessly in general
- Drivers getting behind the wheel when they are drowsy
- Drinking and driving or driving under the influence of any drug
- Distracted driving by using a smartphone, eating food, or having conversations
- Driving late at night when visibility is limited
Teaching Your Child How to Drive: 5 Tips to Utilize
Given that there are a variety of potential causes for a car accident, and the fact that high-speed accidents often trigger severe injuries, learning the best ways to train your child to drive can help save their life as well as other lives:
Stress the importance of removing all distractions
In the modern day where smartphones have become extremely common among everyone, they have also become some of the biggest distractions. One of the most important tips to teach your child is to remove their smartphone from the equation entirely when they begin to drive. Putting their phone into the center console out of sight is always a smart choice, but if it’s needed for GPS then stress a hands-free, eye level holder.
Be a good role model for your child
Children grow up seeing their parents drive them around constantly, which is why being a good role model for them is so important. Never check your phone while driving, avoid eating while driving, be sure to follow all traffic laws, and be a good driver in general to ensure that your child knows what a good driver looks like. Additionally, teach them how to respond in the event they are pulled over by the police so they react accordingly.
Remember that practice makes perfect
No driver starts off perfectly when they get behind the wheel for the first time and it’s important to understand this as a parent. While a driving instructor while tackle the extremely hard aspects of driving with your child, you will be spending the majority of time in the car with them. This means you need to have patience while your child learns and, rather than getting angry with them for a mistake, use it as a learning opportunity.
Start by planning out drives ahead of time
When your child is just starting to learn how to drive, avoid taking them out on the road without a set route or plan in place. Accidentally leading them on the wrong path could accidentally put your child into a situation they aren’t ready to handle on the road. Start off by planning each route you are going to take and think about what the road is like and the level of skill it will require.
Teach your child the common dangers of the road
As mentioned earlier, there are a variety of dangers on the road that can lead to an accident. Understanding these dangers is one of the most important ways to prevent an accident from occurring in the first place, as a person can understand the signs an accident may be about to occur. Whether it be encouraging them to leave enough distance between their car and the car in front of them, simply watching the road far enough ahead of them, or even teaching them how to tackle hazards in the road, learning these dangers can keep your child safe.
The Bottom Line
It’s only natural for a parent to be concerned when their child gets behind the wheel of a car. After all, as a driver who has been on the road for years and has potentially seen a number of accidents occur on the road, any parent would worry for their child. However, utilizing each of the above tips is a surefire way to ensure that your child is ready to responsibly handle the road and any issues that they may encounter.