Handing over the keys of your car to a brand-new teen driver is one of the most exciting and nerve-racking experiences for a parent. On the one hand, you’re confident that your child will be responsible and you’re excited to give them the freedom that comes with being a driver. On the other hand, however, they’re young and inexperienced on the road, which can lead to more than a few dangerous situations.
If you’re feeling more anxious than confident, there are ways to quell your fears. Let’s take a look at seven simple safety secrets that many parents use to give themselves peace of mind when they get overly worried about their teen driver:
- Invest in a personal GPS monitoring service for your vehicle, so you can always check in on where it is. This enables you to see where your child is going, how fast they’re getting there and what stops they’re making along the way. It’s a simple, quantitative way to give yourself peace of mind.
- Many new cars come with “teen driver” features. These can include not being able to turn on the radio while the car is in drive, not being able to shift until the seat belt is buckled and prohibiting cell phone calls while the car is in motion. Enable these if you’re feeling a little skittish.
- Help your new driver become familiar with the many safety features and modern conveniences of your car. Teaching them how to effectively use the backup camera, hands-free controls or voice-activated features can help them keep their attention where it needs to be.
- Before your teen uses the car, move the rearview mirror out of place and watch to see if they correct it before leaving the driveway. This will give you confidence that your new driver is doing their pre-driving checks and paying attention to their surroundings before they ever leave your sight.
- Check the mileage on your vehicle before it goes out and ask your driver where they plan on going. It’s easy to estimate the total mileage they’ll be driving, and you can check the odometer when they get back to see if it’s accurate. If you subscribe to a personal GPS monitoring service, you can also match these numbers up.
- Don’t call or text your teen driver while they’re driving! Even good drivers may answer the phone because they see a parent calling. Instead, call to check in after they should have arrived at their destination. Or, again, check the GPS tracking to see if they’ve arrived before calling.
- For a more wholesome approach to worrying, try this. Have a rule that says your teen driver’s phone needs to be in the glovebox at all times while they drive. Then, leave them a happy note in the glovebox that they’ll find when they take their phone out. If they get the note, it means they followed the rule!
Remember, your teen driver has to spread their wings and fly by themselves at some point in their life. Try not to get too worked up when they take the car out by themselves! Put some stock in the tips above and you’ll find it easier to relax while you afford your child the freedom they need.