Teaching your teenager to drive in New Jersey can bring both feelings of excitement and angst. Your responsibility as a parent is to teach your child how to drive responsibly and stay vigilant at all times.
Driving a car has its risks for anyone. However, teenagers are at a higher risk due to lack of experience. When you know some of the common risks your child may face, you can implement rules to mitigate hazards and improve safety.
Once your teenager can legally drive, you will probably start getting requests to take friends places and carpool to school. Allowing your child to take too many passengers in the vehicle can increase noise, movement and distraction. Because driving already requires a lot of focus, particularly from younger, inexperienced drivers, limiting the number of passengers can help your child stay safer.
You will also want to talk to your child about using a cell phone while driving. This includes answering phone calls, reading or responding to text messages, finding an address on GPS and syncing music streaming services. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one study revealed that a staggering 39.0% of high school-aged participants admitted to texting and driving.
Looking away from the road, even for a couple of seconds, can prevent your teenager from noticing other vehicles or changing stoplights. Talk with your child about the dangers of cellphone use while driving. Implement rules, as well as consequences for violation of the rules.
Responsible driving is something to reward. Compliment your teenager when you recognize responsible driving habits such as wearing a seatbelt, driving slowly and cautiously into the neighborhood and avoiding all cellphone use when driving. Similarly, use consistent discipline for non-compliant behavior to reinforce your expectations.
Teaching your child to show responsibility and develop good driving habits will build a foundation that will last a lifetime.