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How parents can help teens be safe drivers

Teens are much-maligned for being unsafe drivers who cause too many accidents, but it does not have to be that way. There are plenty of things that concerned parents can do to help their teens drive safely.

Where should you start? Naturally, your teen needs to go through a proper driver's training and testing program. Beyond that, you should also:

  • Set a good example for your teen every time they ride with you.
  • Create rules about safe driving, such as not allowing your teen to ride with friends, as that increases the accident odds.
  • Set clear consequences for unsafe actions, such as getting a speeding ticket or causing an accident.
  • Ride along with your teen periodically to observe how they drive.
  • Have open, honest conversations about alcohol use. Teens usually try to avoid this topic with their parents, but it's a reality of the teenage experience. It's important to talk about it.
  • Talk about distracted driving and make it clear that the teen should never text and drive.

The biggest thing that you can do is to stress that you're not trying to set up rules just to make life less fun or to force the teen to act a certain way. You love them. You're just trying to get them to drive safely so they don't get hurt or hurt someone else. Talk about statistics and news reports if that helps to bring the realities home a bit more.

Even when you know your teen is safe, you will still worry. Another driver could cause an accident involving your child. If this happens, you and your family need to know what legal options you have to seek compensation.

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