Strong Advocates
For the Injured And For A Safer Iowa

How can parents help young drivers stay safe?

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Auto Accidents |

You’re at the kitchen table, and your teen’s eyes are full of excitement and a hint of nervousness—they’ve just gotten their learner’s permit. As a parent, you understand the risks and the importance of this milestone.

The road ahead isn’t just about driving but safety, responsibility and preparedness. Your guidance is crucial in steering your teenager toward a future of safe driving habits.

Safety concerns for Iowa teenage drivers

In Iowa, as in much of the United States, teen drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in accidents. The reasons range from inexperience to overconfidence, but the statistics are clear.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers aged 15-20 are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes. Let’s take a closer look at how you can help your teen navigate these risks.

Actions parents can take to protect young drivers

Your involvement can make all the difference in your teenager’s driving habits. Here are things you can do to help them stay safe on the road:

  • Model safe driving: Always wear your seatbelt, obey speed limits and avoid distractions when you drive.
  • Practice together: Spend ample time practicing with your teen in various conditions—day, night, rain and snow.
  • Set clear rules: No texting or calling while driving, no extra passengers and a curfew can help minimize distractions and risks.
  • Discuss the consequences: Talk about driver responsibilities, including the legal and personal repercussions of accidents or traffic violations.
  • Encourage defensive driving: Teach your teen to be aware of their surroundings and anticipate the actions of other drivers.

Driver education courses provide valuable professional instruction and experience. However, creating a parent-teen driving agreement can greatly reduce the risks by setting rules and expectations.

Choosing vehicles and safety systems

In addition to the tips above, choosing the right vehicle and technology can provide an extra layer of protection. If you’re searching for their first car, consult vehicle safety ratings on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website.

Pay close attention to the safety systems available. While some parents may worry that advanced driver assistance features make young drivers dependent on technology, IIHS research shows these features save lives.

Systems to look for include electronic stability control to help maintain traction, automatic emergency braking to help avoid collisions and blind spot warning, a system alerting drivers to the danger of sideswipe accidents.