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Tips for Teen Drivers: What to Know Before Your Teen Drives

Jul 17, 2015
Teen drivers

Parents can impact teen drivers by teaching their children safe driving techniques. Knowing the facts before your child starts to drive helps create a foundation from which they can safely learn. By educating yourself, you can be ready to take on teen driving.

There are different risks depending on if your son or your daughter is driving. A teen driver’s education should take into account these distinctions.

Males are almost twice as likely to die in car crashes than females, according to author and teen driving expert Timothy Smith. One basic issue with teenage boy drivers is that they tend to confuse good driving skills with good handling skills. This conflation harms their actual driving behavior. As a result, male drivers are disproportionately the instigators and recipients of road rage. To better give your teen driver training on this issue, encourage your son to drive well based on how well they treat other drivers and how diligently they follow road rules.

Teenage girls, on the other hand, are statistically more likely to get into crashes at low speed, in intersections, and without the involvement of alcohol. Often times, female teenage drivers get into accidents because other drivers will run red lights or stop signs. Help your daughter avoid these incidents by practicing adequate following distances, about three to four seconds, and two second delays at lights and stop signs. Both of these practices help give drivers enough time to break when others on the road don’t follow the rules.

Teen driver

Regardless of their gender, teen drivers must learn to avoid cell phone use in the car.

“When someone is driving and a text goes off, you’re compelled to pick up that phone, look at it, and that becomes the priority” said Neuropsychiatrist, New York Times bestselling author, and mindsight educator Daniel J. Siegel, MD.

Not only do texting and talking distract drivers from the road, but also they are detrimental to safety. Distracted teen drivers endanger both themselves and the cars around them. Texting while driving increases crash risk by at least 43 times, and talking on the phone, regardless of whether it is hands-off or not, quadruples the crash risk. The simplest way to eliminate this problem is to not allow cell phones in the car. This solution, however, typically isn’t feasible. Instead, Smith recommends that you concede that your child will have their cell in the car, but enforce a rule that they cannot, in any way, shape, or form, interact with their phone.

When teen drivers first start in the car, parents should encourage them to get a lot of practice.

“Drive with your teen often,” recommends author and parent coach Jamee Tenzer, PCC. “Drive with your teen until you feel completely comfortable with their ability to drive.”
By accompanying your child on their practice drives, you can supervise their progress and decide if they are driving safely. If not, don’t let them get their license or drive alone. Step in and make them wait.


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Jamee Tenzer, PCC
Parent Coach & Author

About Jamee Tenzer, PCC

In 2002, Jamee Tenzer founded CMQ Coaching, a private practice with a focus on working mothers and female executives. She works with her clients to integrate their professional and personal lives in order to make their vision real in the workplace without giving up the experience they want at home.  She is also a trainer, mentor, author and small business coach. Her writing has been published in magazines, she is a contributor to numerous websites, writes a monthly newsletter “Coach Me Quick!” and manages “Executive Moms” on LinkedIn. In 2006, she co-authored, 101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life, and in April of 2012 she published her first Coach Me Quick!; Balance Your Work and Family Life with Less Stress and More Fun.