Teen Drivers Drive Safer When Adults Set a Good Example
Joshua Brown was your typical teen who likely looked forward to getting behind the wheel. Unfortunately, he tragically lost his life in an accident.
His legacy is found in Georgia’s Joshua’s Law. If you’re a 16-year-old wanting to get your Class D driver’s license, you must complete a driver education course approved by the state’s Department of Driver Services. You’ll need to include 40 hours of supervised driving, with six of them at night.
If you’re 17 or older, you don’t have to take the driver education course, but the supervised driving requirements still apply.
For Teen Driver Safety Week, looking at the example parents, guardians, and instructors establish for young drivers is crucial. By setting a good example, we can hopefully avoid more tragedies.
Why Setting an Example Matters for Today’s Teen Drivers
Although teen driver fatalities have declined over the years, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for this age group. Research from SADD and Liberty Mutual found that 41% of teens say their parents engage in unsafe behaviors even after they ask them to stop.
Those choices include texting while driving, operating a vehicle while feeling tired or impaired, and not buckling a seat belt.
Researchers found that 28% of teens said their parents justified their unsafe behavior after being confronted about it. That’s why setting a good example is critical to safe driving.
Here are some ways you can do that while your teen goes through driver’s ed classes and learns this essential skill.
1. Honesty Is Best
Being open and honest fosters trust. If you expect your teen to tell the truth, ensure you do the same. If you say you’ll work on something, follow through. This effort teaches accountability and reliability.
2. Be Kind and Respectful
Show courtesy to everyone, regardless of who they are or what they do when you’re behind the wheel. You can encourage teens to embrace a defensive driving mindset by demonstrating social intelligence and empathy.
3. Emotional Regulation
Driving can be a stressful experience. How you handle uncertainty can become a teaching moment for teens. When the focus remains on keeping to a healthy process, you show them how to find balance. It’s the same thing at home. Spend time with your kids, but also give them some space to respect their independence.
4. Love and Support
Show love openly and provide emotional support. It makes a world of difference in their self-esteem and emotional well-being. When teens talk, take the time to listen. Validate their feelings without trying to go into “fix it” mode. Let them see that their opinions matter to you, even if you disagree.
5. Use Active Listening
When teens talk, take the time to listen. Validating their feelings or hearing their concern can help you have a closer relationship while teaching them how to drive safely by example.
Teen Driver Safety Week shines a light on what we hope to focus on throughout the year. Joshua’s Law is an essential step forward that helps us all stay a little safer on the road. Let’s lead by example through Driver’s Ed and personal instruction to make it even better!