Teens often yearn for independence from their parents. That is often what makes the milestone of getting a driver’s license so exciting for teens – and worrying for parents. Parents want to make sure their teens are safe on the road. But what can they do?
Learning safety behind the wheel often starts with parents. Regardless of their age, children still observe and absorb information from their parents. This is especially true when it comes to actions. Therefore, parents should make sure they set a good example as drivers if they want to help their teens stay safe.
Children learn by example – and copy it
As time goes by, it is easy to fall into certain habits behind the wheel. This might include speeding or eating while driving. This is common, but parents should remember that teens are always watching.
A 2012 study reported that teens often mirror a parent’s driving habits when they get on the road. These behaviors included:
- Not wearing seat belts
- Sending text messages while driving
The main point of concern is that most surveyed teens recognized that these behaviors were not safe. Yet, teens often mirrored these actions anyway.
What should parents remember?
Thankfully, parents can proactively prevent this from happening. Long before their teen is of age to begin driving, parents can take steps to be a good example. Parents should:
- Practice defensive driving
- Avoid all types of distractions
- Follow traffic rules, especially speed limits
Of course, learning how to drive safely requires much more than modeling behaviors. Teens also have to learn how to operate the vehicle and understand Pennsylvania’s traffic laws. However, when parents are consciously aware of their own driving habits, they can actively ensure they are setting an example they want their teen to follow.
Additionally, modeling good driving behaviors not only helps teach teens but helps parents drive safer as well. The road can be a frightening place for new drivers and their parents, but families can mitigate the risk and prepare teens to be safe.