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 How To Prepare Your Teenager: Driving Tips For New Drivers

Getting a driver’s license is one of the most significant milestones in a teenager’s life, as it grants them a new sense of freedom. With this newfound freedom comes the responsibility to learn and consistently practice safe driving habits. Parents bear the burden of teaching their children how to drive safely and preparing them to pass their driver’s license exams. Unfortunately, Virginia has no shortage of car accidents, many involving teen drivers. However, with adequate preparation and the right teaching approach, parents can help drastically reduce the risk of their child getting into a traffic accident. Following some practical driving trips for new drivers can be very effective for reaching these goals. You can learn more about safe driving for teens by contacting the experienced Virginia traffic lawyers of Driving Defense Law at (757) 929-0335.

Familiarize Your Teen With Your State’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) System

Teens are more likely than older divers to be involved in severe or fatal car accidents for a number of reasons, including their lack of experience, lack of skills, and immaturity. Younger drivers speed more often, make more mistakes, and are more easily distracted behind the wheel, especially when driving with friends. Parents can help their teens become safer drivers by following the three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system in their state, which is designed to help teens avoid high-risk driving scenarios. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), following this system can reduce a new driver’s accident risk by up to 50%.

While the GDL system can serve as a useful guide, it is important to view this system as just one piece of a larger process. Parents should also be mindful to lead by example by consistently practicing safe driving behaviors themselves, and by taking the time to help their teen practice while they have their learner’s permit. In addition, this parental guidance should continue throughout their teen years, even after they have gotten their license.

Avoiding Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a major issue for drivers of all ages, but teens are more likely to engage in distracting behaviors while behind the wheel. According to the NHTSA, one in three teens with a cell phone says that they have texted while driving, which increases the risk of an accident by 23 times. Maintaining focus on the road and your surroundings is one of the most important aspects of safe driving and parents should make sure their teens understand this when providing them with valuable driving trips for new drivers. Stressing just how dangerous distracted driving can be and how much it increases the risk of an accident can also help teens to better grasp the importance of maintaining full attention behind the wheel.

Cell phone use is the most common form of distracted driving, but far from the only one. Any behavior that takes your attention away from the road is a distraction. Some other common types of distracted driving include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Socializing with passengers
  • Applying makeup
  • Changing the radio station

Warn About the Dangers of Alcohol and Drugs

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that teens are 17 times more likely to die in an accident if their blood alcohol concentration is over .08%. Most parents have already discussed the dangers of drugs and alcohol with their teens, but it is a good idea to have another talk about these dangers when preparing them to drive. 

In addition to the risk of severe accidents, teens who get pulled over while under the influence could face serious legal consequences, such as a criminal record, possible jail time, a suspended license, and legal fees. Teens who get charged with drunk driving are also at risk of losing college acceptances, scholarships, and academic eligibility. Due to these serious consequences, parents of teens charged with DUI should consider hiring an experienced DUI attorney. If your family is in this situation, you can learn more by contacting one of the DUI defense attorneys at Driving Defense Law.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Taking good care of a vehicle is one of the most important responsibilities of owning or driving a car. A well-maintained car will have a longer lifespan than a neglected one. More importantly, keeping a vehicle well-maintained can also reduce the risk of an accident. Teens should understand the importance of maintenance before being granted driving privileges.

If a car is not properly maintained, it is at risk of mechanical failure while on the road, which can easily cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle and crash. Some common ways that poor maintenance can lead to accidents include:

  • Worn-down brake pads make it difficult to stop on time
  • Low-tread tires that slip on the road in poor conditions
  • Burnt-out headlights or taillights make the vehicle less visible to others

Prepare for Emergencies

Drivers should always be prepared for an unexpected emergency on the road, such as an accident or breakdown. An emergency kit should be kept with all supplies your teen could need if stranded in a broken-down vehicle, such as water, a blanket, a flashlight, non-perishable foods, jumper cables, and flares. Parents should also make sure their teens understand the importance of having their vehicle registration and proof of insurance easily accessible in case they are involved in an accident or get pulled over, and what they should do after a car accident.

Contact Our Virginia Traffic Lawyers

Educating your teen with useful driving tips for new drivers can help keep them safe and reduce their risk of being involved in an accident. However, the reality is that some teens will get involved in accidents or get ticketed for traffic offenses. If your teen has recently been ticketed for speeding or another offense, or if they are facing more serious charges like reckless driving, the Virginia traffic lawyers at Driving Defense Law are available to help. We can review your teen’s case and provide our legal opinion on the best way to handle the offense, along with continuous legal guidance throughout the legal process. Call Driving Defense Law today at (757) 929-0335 to learn more.