Create a Driving Contract With Your Teenager
As New York City accident lawyers, we see many car accidents. Unfortunately, we also see many accidents involving young drivers. As a parent, you cannot always be with your child, but you can set rules for when and if they are allowed to drive. While this may make them different from their friends, it can also make them and those around them safer. By creating a driving contract, you will be setting clear expectations that both of you can stick to.
Reduce or Eliminate Distractions
Any driving contract should include ways to reduce distractions, including:
- No cell phone use while driving. That includes talking, texting, emailing, taking selfies, etc. The best idea is to require them to keep their phone in the glovebox. If that means you cannot reach them until they get to their destination, that is better than them getting into an accident while trying to answer the call. Remember that teen drivers have less experience, so even a slight distraction can be dangerous.
- Keep the radio down. They need to be able to hear things happening around them, like sirens from an emergency vehicle or the horn of someone trying to alert them.
- No eating. Before the days of cell phones, eating while driving was considered to be a major distraction. It still can be.
- Limit friends. Having friends in the car can be incredibly distracting. That is why a graduated license program is becoming so popular. You can set your own rules regarding when they can start to give friends rides and what that looks like in regard to hours, how many people, etc.
Set Driving Hours
After midnight, the risk of a traffic fatality goes up. By giving your teen a curfew, you could be saving their life. You may want to have them home even earlier because driving while tired can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. If they have a late curfew now, you can always set a new one that applies to the days they have the car.
Make It a Reward
Driving is a privilege that can be earned if you want it to be. You can tie their driving privileges to their grades in school or other community activities. Not only will this make them want to work harder, but it will also teach them to be responsible. If they are responsible enough to turn in their homework and study for exams, they should be responsible enough to obey the rules of the road, along with any rules you have established.
At Greenstein & Milbauer, we see many accidents and we do not want your child to be in one of them. Do you have a teen driver? Have you set any rules for them? Share your tips with other parents here.