It may be old-fashioned, and it may seem a little silly, but creating a safe driving contract with your teen is one of the many ways you can protect them on the roads this summer. The purpose of the agreement is to lay out the rules and consequences.
A contract starts with an open conversation. The sooner you have these conversations (even before they show interest in driving), the more concrete those safe driving principles will become. The discussion should always be two way and never one-sided.
Here are five ways to help you create a driving contract with your teen and some examples of rules and repercussions.
1.Discuss distracted driving. Just a few years ago, the concern was high with teens texting and driving. Today, they're doing more behind the wheel: scrolling, taking selfies, live-streaming, watching shows, and the list continues. It's essential that your teen is aware that taking their eyes off the road for just a few seconds could be a life or death situation.
An example of a rule and consequence for this situation could be if your teen uses their phone while driving, they will have to do a week of driving with adult supervision.
2.Teach them that driving behavior affects insurance. Some teens may not fully understand the details of car insurance or how costly it can be when they get into trouble. Talk to them about premiums and how risky behavior like a speeding ticket, a red-light ticket, or a DUI can drastically raise your insurance. Liberty Mutual Insurance suggests encouraging your teens to do well in school too, as excellent grades can help parents get discounts on their insurance rates.
3.Remind them to wear their seatbelt. According to a 2017 study on teen driving conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, not buckling up was one of the three common factors that resulted in deadly crashes for teen drivers. Some teens seem to think driving without a seatbelt is cool or that nothing will happen to them.
As part of your contract, buckling up at all times is crucial. A result of them not wearing a seatbelt could be a week of no driving.
4.Be honest about your mistakes. No one's perfect, even parents. Some of the biggest failures have been the most significant lessons. Driving is no exception to that. Parents can't expect their teens to learn if they're not honest about their mishaps. Teens appreciate when their parents can admit their mistakes, such as driving while texting or speeding when you're angry. Having transparent conversations with your kid will help you both be more mindful of what you do and how you can improve. It will also keep the communication open.
5.Be a good role model for your teen. No matter how old they get, parents are the most prominent role models in their children's lives. It's unfair to force certain behaviors on them when parents aren't practicing them. When establishing a contract with your teen, remember that you are responsible for putting those habits to use behind the wheel as well. If they see you keeping your end of the bargain, chances are, they will keep theirs.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to keeping our viewers accident-free, which is why we initiated the Drive Safe campaign. Steer clear of danger with our monthly tips.