The key to preparing new teen drivers: Practice

Your teen is excited to finally get his or her driver’s license, but you are a little worried. Your child may be responsible, but the road can be a dangerous place for even the most seasoned driver.

It is likely you have heard just how dangerous the roads can be for new drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenagers face a higher risk of car accidents during the first few months they have a license. What can you – and your child – do to reduce that risk?

Practice, practice, practice

When it comes to driving, practice may not make perfect. However, it can make your teen more experienced. It can help to take the following steps:

  • Increase practice time: The Tennessee Graduated Driver License Program only requires 50 hours of behind-the-wheel practice to obtain an Intermediate Driver License. That is the necessary condition under the law, but parents can increase that amount of time to ensure their child feels ready.
  • Practice with them often: Practice time usually involves official behind-the-wheel instruction. However, increasing practice time may also mean you personally take time to help your child learn the skills to drive safely. You can provide both technical and personal knowledge of the road in a way you know they will understand. Remember to remain calm while advising them on the rules of the road.
  • Quiz them while you drive: If your child happens to be in the passenger seat, you can still make that a time when they can learn. Have them focus on the road as if they were the one driving, watch for the speed limit signs and understand the meaning of other road signs you pass. It is also critical to remember that you set an example for your child each time you get behind the wheel, so make sure you drive safely too.

Every skill takes practice. Obtaining driving privileges is a big responsibility, so it is critical to ensure your child has the necessary knowledge to drive safely and defensively. That way, you can worry less each time your child gets behind the wheel.

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