Driving is one of the many milestones in life and parents may find that it is a bonding experience between themselves and their teens. Typically, young drivers take courses that provide a foundation in the rules of the road, but there are a few safety issues that parents should drive home to their teens before they get behind the wheel.

Texting and Cell Phones

More than 1.3 million crashes occurred in 2011 as a result of accidents involving young drivers who were texting or talking on their cellphones. There has been a serious shift in the media, promoting anti-texting laws and the repercussions of driving while distracted. Many states are implementing laws and punishments that focus on use of phones and mobile devices behind the wheel, and more than thirty states prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. Teach your new driver to avoid any and all distractions and to concentrate on the task at hand: driving the car safely.

The Need for Speed

Posted speed limits do more than simply impede those with an itch to get where they are going. Speed limits are set by cities and municipalities after transportation officials have assessed the terrain and influences, such as climate, geography, and proximity to residences, schools, and other aspects. As a new driver, disregarding these limits can result in more than a costly ticket; some courts will suspend the right to drive for those charged with a speeding offense.

Caution Regarding Pedestrians

The need to be particularly cautious and watchful of pedestrians cannot be emphasized enough with young drivers. Crashes involving pedestrians account for nearly 12% of all traffic-related fatalities annually. Failure to yield or hitting a pedestrian is typically the driver’s fault, regardless of the situation and could result in jail time if serious injuries are incurred.

The Meaning of Medians

Median strips may seem useless and inconvenient for drivers looking to change directions, however, they serve a prudent safety function. Often, raised sidewalks and “pedestrian refuge areas” are an indication of pedestrians in the area. Other times, they separate opposing lanes of traffic and serve to discourage U-turns, which can be dangerous, given the condition, slope, or traffic of the area.


Most states have specific guidelines for new drivers, regarding who can be in the vehicle during travel. For instance, in North Carolina, drivers under the age of 18 who have had their license for less than one year cannot have passengers in the car that are not blood-related. In other states, this is a stipulation during the time when a driver holds a conditional license or learner’s permit.

Children need to be taught that they should not tolerate distractions from passengers while they are driving. Distractions including eating, music, or loud noises can make it difficult for new drivers to focus. Teaching kids to set boundaries and communicate their needs to those around them is something that they are never too young to learn.

Teaching your teen to drive involves more than learning how to shift or properly use the brake. Safety should be taught and demanded by parents with young drivers in the home, and the repercussions of failing to heed safety should be seriously addressed before giving them the keys to the car.

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