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Raising a safe teen driver: What Virginia parents can do

There are several steps parents can take to help their teen driver practice and maintain safe driving behaviors.

Many parents in Virginia worry about whether their child will remain safe on the road once he or she earns his or her driver’s license. These concerns are justified because according to the National Safety Council, half of all teenage drivers will be involved in a motor vehicle collision before they graduate from high school.

Parents should remember that after their child gets their driver’s license, their involvement in ensuring his or her safety does not end. Parents should also remember that there are steps they can take to help their teen driver stay safe on the road.

What to do

Parents with a new teen driver should keep driving sessions short and simple. For example, parents should limit their teen’s driving time with them to 20 minutes until they get more comfortable. Parents should also start with daytime drives and then move into driving at night as their child progresses.

Before and after their child gets their driver’s license, parents should model good driving behavior. For instance, parents should refrain from distracted driving by not picking up their cellphone to take a call or respond to a text. Parents should also wear a seatbelt, pay attention to activities around them and follow driving signals and signs.

Additionally, parents should be patient with their teen driver. If their teen makes a mistake, parents should reframe the situation as a time to teach and remind their teen that good, safe driving takes continual practice.

What not to do

Before and after licensure, parents should never permit their teen to use his or her cellphone behind the wheel. Parents should recommend that all smartphones be put into the glove compartment before the car starts moving so the temptation is eliminated.

Parents should also refrain from being critical or negative while driving with their teen. Throughout the driving session, a positive and calm atmosphere should be maintained. Parents should also refrain from imbibing negativity into the experience. For example, instead of telling their teen to slow down because he or she will get a ticket, they should simply ask their teen what the speed limit is on the road.

Reach out to an attorney

While parents can do their best to help their teen become a safe driver, they cannot control the actions of other drivers. Those harmed in a collision in Virginia caused by a negligent driver should reach out to the attorneys at Crandall & Katt, Attorneys at Law for legal assistance.