It’s funny how you can turn a simple act of driving into a terrifying ordeal. I was 16 when I got my driver’s license, and I remember being so excited to get behind the wheel of my first car. It took a little while before I realized some rules had to be followed if the experience was safe for everyone involved.
With our son now at age 16, we decided it was time to start enforcing some rules around driving so that he could get some experience before he took off for college in 2021—and, hopefully, make it through high school alive!
Basics of driving
Teaching teens the basics of safe driving is essential, including ensuring they don’t text while behind the wheel. Using your cell phone while driving can be tempting, but doing so puts you at risk for distractions that can lead to an accident.
No texting while operating a motor vehicle.
Don’t let your teenager get fooled into thinking it’s okay to text while driving because they have their hands on the wheel:
- No texting while operating a motor vehicle
- No eating or drinking while operating a motor vehicle
- No applying makeup while operating a motor vehicle
- No reading a book during school hours when you could be listening in class
- Hire an hourly driver for more assistance and training.
- No using a cell phone during school hours when you could be paying attention in class.
More practice driving
You must practice driving in the real world, not just with your parents. You can only expect to be able to go on the highway or in inclement weather once you’ve gained experience driving in situations like these.
Practice driving in different locations, too. Suppose all of your practicings has been done on back roads and residential streets. In that case, you are adapting when something goes wrong while on a four-lane highway or during rush hour traffic on I-95 will be much more difficult.
This is the most important rule of all. The faster you drive, the more dangerous it is. Period. We have speed limits, and police officers who enforce them should tell you everything. Why do we need to explain this? Because teenagers are conditioned to think, “I can go fast” or “I don’t have a license yet, so I can do whatever I want.” Those beliefs are false—and they’re dangerous! Speed kills. Speed is a factor in most accidents and fatalities (and serious injuries) on America’s roads today.
Over 21 & more than two at a time.
There can only be two people in the car simultaneously, with no exceptions. Remember that you are the safe driver, and this is your responsibility. You need to be able to act without distraction, so no passengers unless they are over 21 years old. Here’s why these rules are essential:
Having a passenger in your car removes your concentration and makes driving more challenging. For example, if you’re talking with them or listening to music, you won’t hear the honking horns or see the lights change color as quickly as they should. This can lead to accidents that could’ve been avoided if no passengers were present in the first place!
You’ll also have less control of your vehicle when others are around because everyone may want something different from how things go down on their end (and vice versa). For example, you might be trying so hard not to hit anyone. Still, someone decides, “Hey, let’s stand up here instead!” which means now everyone else has shifted positions too much for comfort due to their chair being moved outwards by about 10 feet radius (roughly where my mom sat).
Drive between 7 am and 5 pm only.
You should drive only between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. while training. This is safer because it’s when most people are going, and there are more drivers on the road, which means you’re less likely to be in an accident.
In addition, night driving can be dangerous because you may have trouble seeing other cars’ headlights or brake lights in time to avoid an accident if one were to occur. Nighttime driving also increases your risk of falling asleep at the wheel because it’s harder for your body to stay awake after dark than during daylight hours (when there is more light).
We will enforce these rules to help keep our teenage son alive while he learns to drive.
- No texting while driving. Practice driving as much as possible, and don’t get in the car with someone drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
- Speed in moderation, and never speed around bends or corners—even if you feel sure of yourself behind the wheel, there’s always the potential for danger to come out of nowhere!
- Never have passengers in your car unless they sit correctly and wear seat belts—it’s safer for everyone involved!
- Also, buckle up yourself because we want both sons alive when this ends!
We are a proud family of safe dryers, and we know our son will be just fine. Being a parent these days is not easy, but this will help us ensure he has the best possible chance at living a long life.