Pointers for Parents of Teen Drivers

AAA Mid States

As a parent, you can make a difference. The single most important step you can take to protect the life of your teenager on the road is to be actively involved in the learning-to-drive experience. According to research, teens value the opinions of their parents most of all (even if it doesn’t always seem like it). That’s why sharing your knowledge and experience about safe driving is so important. Now is the time to begin a potentially life-saving dialogue with your teen.

As a parent, your job is to manage and coach your teen into becoming a safe, experienced driver through practice driving and mentoring. It is important to be aware of the risks, set and enforce rules, and model safe and responsible driving. Parents need to provide a framework for their teens that guide their decision-making and behaviors, even when they are not around. You play a critical role in your teen’s learning-to-drive process. Here are some important actions you can take.

Evaluate your teen’s readiness. 

Talk with your teen about personal responsibility, the ability to follow rules and any other concerns before beginning the learning-to-drive process. Before you begin practice driving with your teen, include strict ground rules related to distraction.

Start talking now. 

You have acquired “road wisdom” over the years – insight you’ll want to share because it could s

Focus on safety. 

Traffic crashes are a real danger. Crash risks begin to increase at age 12. Talk to your teen about always buckling up, refraining from using cell phones while driving and being a safe passenger. Include strict rules related to distraction in your Parent-Teen Driving Agreement before your teen drives solo.

Be engaged. 

When you’re behind the wheel, talk about what you see (road signs, pedestrians, other vehicles, etc.) that could result in the need to change speed, direction or both. Have your teen comment, too.

Be active in the learning-to-drive process.  

The more issues you address early, the safer and smoother the whole process will be. AAA offers StartSmart, a set of research-based e-newsletters you can use to guide discussions with your teen throughout the entire learning-to-drive process.

Be a good role model. 

Your teen has been watching your driving habits for the last decade or so. And as your teen begins the learning-to-drive process, that focus will likely increase. So, make changes in your driving to prevent any poor driving habits from being passed on. Show you take driving seriously and always set a good example.

Adding a new driver to your auto insurance brings up a lot of questions. Call to talk to your local AAA Insurance Agent at 1-800-222-1469, visit AAA.com/AutoInsurance, or stop by your local AAA office today.