Tips on How to Talk to Your Teen About Driving Safety
Are you nervous about talking to your teen about driving?
If so, here are some recommendations to get the wheels rolling.
13 to 14-year-olds
Believe it or not, the 13 to 14-year-old age range is the perfect time to start working on safe driving habits with your teen. That is, before teens even get behind the wheel, they need to first understand what it means to be a good passenger. Additionally, your 13 to 14-year-old is probably thrilled at the prospect of driving, so why not leverage their interest on the topic?
This is the time to set clear and specific boundaries about behavior in a vehicle. Below are some examples, but feel free to create rules that work for your family.
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Never distract the person driving
- Don't ever ride with a person who has been drinking or using drugs
- Don't ride with drivers who have too little experience
15 to 18-year-olds
Did you know that the first year of holding a driver's license is the riskiest ? Most teens experience a crash during the first year of holding a license. Furthermore, carrying three or more passengers under the age of 21 can quadruple your 16 to 17-year-old's fatality risk .
So what's a parent to do?
The good news is that teens with involved parents are twice as likely to wear seat belts, and are half as likely to speed . Here are some tips on how to be involved and talk to your teen driver:
- Set an example: we have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. It's one of the hardest rules to abide by.
- Gradually introduce new privileges, as it is OK to limit driving.
- Be careful when offering critique. New teen drivers feel very defensive about their skills. For every negative point you make, offer three positive points as well.
- Enforce limits and make sure the rules you set are realistic.
For questions about teen driving restrictions, including curfew, passenger count and more, please visit the Colorado Department of Transportation's website.
Watch Children's Hospital Colorado's senior psychologist Jeff Dolgan, Ph.D. give advice on how to best manage new teen drivers:
 Mayhew DR, Simpson HM, Pak A. Changes in Collision Rates Among Novice Drivers During the First Months of Driving. Accident Analysis and Prevention. 2003;35(No 5):683–691.
 AA Foundation, 2012, Teft, Williams, Graboski. Teen Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers.
 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, 2009. Research Institute, National Young Driver Survey.