Few teens and preteens ever think about the rules of the road or how to drive safely until they’re just about to start driving. But the time when they are getting ready to drive is a great teachable moment. Here are a few ways to provide teens and preteens with the tools they need to make responsible choices before they are ready to drive or ride as passengers with young, new drivers.

Hard facts about young drivers

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers. Mile for mile, teenagers are three times more likely to be involved in a crash compared with other drivers. Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. Only 51% of high school students reported always wearing a seat belt when riding with someone else.

Top tips for getting your teen ready to drive

  1. Buckle up, every ride, every time.
  2. Talk to your kids about passenger safety. We’ll make it easy for you. Check out our Countdown2drive program, which helps you start a conversation to set guidelines for your family.
  3. Kids are always watching, even when you think they’re not. So be a good example. Eliminate distractions by not using a cell phone or texting while driving. Use your teen or preteen to read maps and help with finding locations.
  4. Teach your kids to ride with experienced drivers and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. Parents must decide what “experienced” means.
  5. Make it a rule that kids younger than 13 ride like a VIP – in the back. This is the safest place for preteens and younger children to sit.
  6. When carpooling, make sure you have enough seating positions and booster seats for every child in your car and that kids enter and exit curbside. Teach this to your driver-to-be, too.

Learn more

Help keep your preteens and teens safe as passengers. Check out our Countdown2drive program, which includes tips to help parents talk about curfews, grades and other important issues that may affect driving privileges.

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Safe Kids Worldwide Safe Kids Worldwide is a nonprofit organization working to help families and communities keep kids safe from injuries.

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