Getting your learner’s permit at 15 and your license at 16 is a part of growing up in America. It’s a right of passage, your first taste of real freedom. But, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Car crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens. Fortunately, it’s all preventable by following these safety and driving tips for teens.

Driving Tips for Teens

Keep the Phone in Your Backpack or Purse

Or better yet, out of reach in the back seat on silent. Remember when we mentioned car crashes were a leading cause of death for teens? Well, texting causes the majority of those teen car crashes.

Additionally, it may be illegal. With more research showing texting and driving the equivalent of drunk driving, states are starting to prohibit cell phones while driving. Keep it safe, keep it silent and keep it stowed.

Drive Alone

It may seem boring, but it is safer. While not a lasting rule, this is ideal for newly minted drivers.

Even one passenger is distracting. They like chatting, asking questions, cranking the tunes, critiquing your driving—all things that distract and pressure you to not drive your best.

For the first few months, drive solo.

Mind the Rules (even the small ones)

Speed limits are there for a reason. No passing zones exist as protection. Follow the rules of the road—even if you deem them silly.

Going the 5mph over may get you there 5-seconds sooner, but it could be the reason you just hydroplaned. You’re right, that car is going way too slow. But, the no pass zone exists because of accidents caused by the blind turn ahead.

Follow the rules, even if they seem small.

Keep Your Car Clean

Keeping your car clean keeps it free of distractions as well as safe. Light reflecting off of dirty windsheilds causes momentary blindness. Old wipers do nothing in rain. Something rolling around on the floor causes distracted drivers. Digging and looking for the garage remote when you turn onto your street makes you less likely to notice the child on their bike.

Not sure where to start? Follow these general car tips and keep your car a clean, distraction and mess free zone.

Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers

You Make the Rules (and make that known)

While teens may think they have earned the respect of being equal, they haven’t. While they remain living at home, it’s your responsibility to set rules and guidelines, setting them up for success.

At this point, teens (hopefully) have zero experience with the consequence of breaking laws. But, they do know what happens when they break your rules. With this knowledge of possible punishments, they are more liking to drive safely, following the standard safety and driving tips for teens.

Make the rules of the road and consequences of breaking them known from the start.

Safety Over Looks

The time for flashy and fast cars is not now. They can earn that for themselves in the future. When looking for a suitable vehicle for your teenager remember: safety over flashy.

Focus on safety features and vehicle ratings. Do your research for which cars have lower insurance rates due to their safety ratings. When looking at used cars, do your due diligence, ensuring there were no previous accidents or safety recalls. Not sure if a car is up to par? Bring it to Northwest Auto Center of Houston and have the professionals look at it.

Mandatory Safety Courses

Feel like what you are sayings is going in one ear and directly out the other? Leave the teaching to the professionals.

Teen driving courses are comprehensive safety courses that teach teens about driving laws, defensive driving strategies, driving skills and more. And, you (and the family car) aren’t responsible for the first times behind the wheel.

Be the Example

Kid’s are sponges: they soak in everything around them. Including, how you drive and react to stresses on the road.

Hold yourself to high driving standards early and watch your teen follow suit.

It’s a happy time—you finally have the freedom to go where you want, when you want(within reason). But, teen driving can be scary. Safety is often forgotten in favor of looking cool. Stay on the road with these driving tips for teens and continue driving for many more days to come.