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Getting a driver’s license is an exciting accomplishment for teenagers and opens up a whole new level of independence of growing up. Going into this stage, teens will be driving without years of experience which can be overwhelming and difficult to handle hazardous situations properly. Research shows that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens between the ages of 15-20. With a conversation and establishing a few strategies for you and your teen, you can put a plan in place to ensure they stay safe out on the road. Below we offer 8 safety tips to build the safest driving experience for your teen!

Enroll in a driving safety course
Experience is a powerful tool in your belt to help your teen better handle the driving environment. Getting your teen out on the road with a professional can further strengthen good habits while on the road and get them overall more time driving.

Shop around for a safe car for your teen
Whether you are purchasing a brand new car or used model, look for advanced safety features such as a developed airbag system, electronic stability control, and others. If a hazardous driving situation occurs, these safety features could save your teen’s life. The folks at Land Rover of South Dade, Miami stress that you talk to your local dealer about what features you should look for in a modern vehicle to help ensure your teen’s safety.

Talk about how dangerous drugs and alcohol can be
Being direct and honest about having a 0 tolerance policy for drinking and driving is an important step in helping your teen stay safe. Discuss with your kid to not be under the influence while driving or get in a car where the driver has been drinking. Cultivate a plan to have your child call you in any situation in order to ensure they will have a safe way home.

Limit distractions while on the road
Becoming distracted while driving with additional passengers or texting drastically increases the likelihood of causing an accident. Friends can peer pressure or distract your child while smartphones take their eyes and mind off the road which causes them to become incapable of reacting to a hazardous situation. Have a conversation with your teen about safely pulling off the road or into a parking lot temporarily to use a cell phone if necessary; adding on an extra few minutes to the trek is well worth the investment. You’ll also want to teach them that stopping to look at an accident can cause another accident, far too often passer-by’s stop and watch when an accident has occurred, this can cause more collisions within the road.

Strategize safe driving habits
Tailgating and speeding are two of the leading elements that cause teen based car crashes. Tailgating and driving too fast gives your teen less space and time to react properly in case of a sudden shift in the roads environment. Drivers with experience look far down the road and are aware of their surroundings to be able to avoid an accident far before one starts to potentially begin. Or if you’ve decided that passing on the right is the best move to take after a slow-moving vehicle, indicating before any actions take place is very important. The further behind a car you stay, the better as you can see what’s going ahead in good time.

Set a good example
Your teen will observe you driving and make note of routine habits you have. Following the rules and guidelines, you discuss with them yourself further enforces the lessons about safety you are trying to share; breaking those lessons can often times have the opposite effect.

Check-in with their driving
Ask your teen how driving is going in conversation; driving on your own is an exciting experience and can be very involved initially. Share some of your own experiences and how you prevented hazardous situations from developing. If you are going out to run an errand, ask your teen if they could drive you to help reinforce good driving happens and help them ease into the role of being an independent driver.

Put together an emergency safety kit
Being prepared can help ease tension while on the drive and help in cases of misfortune. Pack a small plastic box with bandages, a non-perishable snack, portable phone charger, emergency contact information, and other useful items. Include a blanket and small shovel for winter seasons. Having a conversation of what to do in an emergency also can help prepare your teen in situations so they will be ready to help ensure their own safety in case of a break-down or accident.