For teens, getting their driver's license is a big milestone on the path to adulthood. It likely comes with a mix of excitement and anxiety. And for parents, this rite of passage in your child’s life probably comes with its own set of feelings – letting them out on the open road can feel vulnerable and scary.
At OtoZen, we believe it’s possible to set your teen free on their journey as a new driver safely, by equipping them with the knowledge, practice, and tools they need from the start. Not only does this help eliminate fear and anxiety for both of you, but it is also the best way to support your teen to become a skilled, confident, and safe driver.
Here are 9 Tips to Help Your Teen Develop Safe Driving Skills:
1. Discuss distracted driving from the get-go.
Whether it’s sending a text message, talking on the phone, eating while driving, or some other activity that takes their eyes off the road, distracted driving is dangerous, and even more so for teens. Drivers ages 16-19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash due to distraction than drivers over 20. It’s crucial to start talking to your teen now about the responsibility of becoming a new driver and the danger of distracted driving
2. Sign a parent-teen driving agreement and establish rules.
Set clear expectations for your teen by having them sign a parent-teen driving agreement. This helps to establish rules for their driving ahead of time (For example, driving after dark, never driving impaired, etc.) and makes the consequences clear if the rules are broken.
3. Brush up on the rules of the road.
If you’ve been driving for years, you may not remember all the detailed rules and laws of the road. It’s also likely they’ve changed over time. Be sure you can give them current information. Download a current driver’s manual from your local DMV to study alongside your teen.
4. Explain seat belt safety.
Thankfully, most drivers in the U.S. wear seat belts, but buckling up is an important habit to create as soon as your teen begins driving. Explain the importance of wearing a seatbelt and the potential consequences of not being belted in if in a vehicle accident.
5. Give them lots of practice driving.
According to a Johns Hopkins study, the best way to prepare your new driver for the road is to give them lots of practice driving, and in a variety of road conditions. Driving a vehicle is relatively simple, but developing safe driving judgment is something that comes with practice. Not up to the task to teach them? Enroll them in a driver's education program in your area.
6. Teach them the basics of the car and what to do in the event of an accident.
Go over the car with your teen inside and out. Explain important features like how to defrost the windows, how to check the oil and tire pressure, and how to get gas. Be sure they know exactly what to do if involved in an accident.
7. Explain the cost of accidents and speeding tickets.
Adding a new driver to your car insurance is costly, but safe driving will pay off over time. As your teen becomes more experienced, your insurance rates will drop without any accidents or speeding tickets. Make your young driver aware of the savings of safe driving and the potential costs associated with accidents and speeding tickets.
8. Find them a safe car.
When it comes to safety, not all cars are created equal. Choosing a car that meets safety criteria is one more way of keeping your child safe. Check out this list of safe and reliable vehicles (in a range of prices) for teens put out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Consumer Reports.
9. Be a good example.
The reality is that your teen is watching you. If you want your child to take you seriously, it’s key to follow good driving practices, especially when driving with them. If you text while driving, you can be sure your teen will too. Take this chance to clean up any of your bad driving habits and set a good example for your new driver.
How OtoZen Can Help Keep Your Teen Safe on the Road
Let’s be honest, teaching your teen to develop safe driving skills, and then setting them free to drive, can be a little scary and stressful. But with a little preparation, knowledge, and practice your teen will be ready for the road in no time. The OtoZen app can make your teen’s driving experience even safer with important features like:
➡️ Speeding Alerts
Gentle beeps will alert your teen to slow down and avoid an accident. The app continuously compares their speeds and the various speed limits of each road, all without them having to open the app.
➡️ Texting While Driving Warnings
The app senses the handling of the phone and offers a mild phone vibration that reminds your teen driver not to pick up the phone while driving, so they can go back to focusing on the road.
➡️ Drive Score Reports
Get feedback on your teen’s safety behind the wheel and build safer driving habits. OtoZen provides Drive Scores for each trip, factoring in speeding and phone usage. Save money on tickets, accidents, and insurance premiums with improved driving.
➡️ 24/7 Crash Detection
Your teen will never have to face an accident alone. Using their phone’s sensors to detect a crash, the app will respond with life-saving immediate roadside support, even if they cannot communicate.
➡️ Live Location and ETA
With the live location feature, OtoZen keeps you informed of your teen’s location including traffic and ETA, so they don't have to make or receive calls and texts. It can also automatically send Started, Nearby, or Arrived Notifications.As you can see, OtoZen makes safe driving possible for you and your loved ones. We have plans to protect every family member. Click here to start your free trial today!