As a parent, the day your child passes their driving test can inspire mixed emotions. There may be relief that you will no longer need to act as their chauffeur. And worry that they might end up hurt or hurting others in a collision.
Like most teenagers, your child might not fully understand the risks of driving. They might feel ready to explore the world, but you fear they still have a lot to learn about staying safe. Taking a few steps can bring you greater peace of mind and increase the chance your child returns unharmed each time they set out in the car.
Consider what vehicle you are happy for them to drive
Let’s say you are a two-car household. If one vehicle is a powerful SUV and the other a small hatchback, it might be unwise to let your teen use the SUV. The increased power and size of an SUV make it far easier for them to get into a crash and increases the harm they could do to others if they are in one. On the other hand, if the SUV has a far superior safety rating, you may prefer that they drive that vehicle in order to benefit from better protection in the event of a collision.
Accompany them in the car
The best way to check on how your child’s driving is progressing is to hop into the passenger seat from time to time. Get them to give you a lift somewhere. There are also apps to help track driving behavior from the comfort of your home.
Set some rules
If you do not feel your child is ready to take a week-long road trip or drive at night, then tell them so. If you have discovered they are using the phone while driving, take away the car keys for a while. By setting boundaries, your child can better learn that their driving-related actions have consequences.
Your child might not appreciate your attempts to keep them safe. However, if they are injured in a crash, they’ll almost certainly turn to you first. Being proactive can reduce the chance of that happening.