Teaching Your Child Defensive Driving
Every parent dreads the day that their child is finally old enough to get their driver’s license. No matter how long you’ve spent driving in circles in the school parking lot and setting up cones for them to parallel park between, nothing compares to the feeling of when they are finally heading out onto the road alone. For all the parents stressing about how to keep their teen safe behind the wheel, here are five of the best defensive driving techniques that you can teach them early on.
1. The Three Second Rule
Teaching your teenager to keep a safe distance between them and the car in front of them is one of the safest and easiest ways to avoid a collision. Under normal weather conditions, this will give them enough time to brake and come to a complete stop if necessary. An easy way to teach this would be to have them pick a road sign and count once the vehicle in front passes it. If your teen driver passes the same sign before three seconds, they are driving too fast.
Remember, this only works when there are clear skies, so if it’s wet, foggy, nighttime, or any other more dangerous condition, they will need to adjust accordingly.
2. Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Remember your driving test? Being observant and checking your mirrors is a huge part of being a safe driver. This means you should encourage your teen to always be on the lookout for road hazards and construction, bikers, pedestrians, animals, an aggressive driver, or any other potentially dangerous conditions.
You can teach this by having your teen check their mirrors and scan ahead every 30 or so seconds. If it’s a slow traffic day or the roadway is clear, they can do this between songs.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
One of the most important things you can teach your children when they’re learning to drive is to never make an assumption about what another driver is going to do. Whether at a red light, stop sign, or just cruising down the interstate, assuming that other drivers are going to be paying attention to the road could do more harm than good.
You can help them combat this by staying alert and keeping a close eye on other cars on or near the roadway.
4. Manage Your Speed
According to the National Law Review, speeding is a factor in nearly 25% of fatal accidents. This is because driving at higher speeds makes it much easier to lose control of the vehicle and limits your ability to react to hazards quickly.
When teaching your teenager how to drive, it’s important that they know how to properly manage their speed for any given situation - including inclement weather and taking turns or exits. Cruise control can be a great option for managing speed on the highway but should be avoided when driving in bad weather.
5. Avoid Distractions
Texting, flipping through radio stations, eating, and even talking to passengers can come with potentially dangerous consequences. Remind your teen that doing anything that takes their hands, eyes, or mind away from the road should be avoided whenever possible.
Parents - don’t forget that your children are always watching. If you are using your phone or engaging in distracted driving, they will likely assume that it’s okay to do so. Promote positive behaviors by avoiding distractions when behind the wheel.
You Keep Your Teens Safe, We Can Too
Idrizi Law Group wants all parents to know that we are on their side when it comes to motor vehicle safety. Our clients receive a 10 point checklist for safer driving, and we fight for their right to have a stress-free driving experience. If your teenager gets injured on the roads, call (727) 202-5499 to schedule a consultation and make sure your rights are protected.