As parents, you are always helping your kids live better, smarter, safer lives
You remind them not to touch a hot stove and to look both ways before crossing the street. By the time they become teenagers, they want to do the opposite of whatever you tell them and they are heavily influenced by their peers. Reminding them as teenagers to be safe drivers doesn't always have the effect we parents would like it to.
Here's how you can teach your kids about safe driving even before they get their driver's license
So by the time they do become licensed drivers, they will have the basics instilled in their DNA.
- Model safe driving. Kids watch their parents and imitate what their parents do (even years after… even during those rebellious teenage years) so your safe driving instruction starts with you showing your kids how to drive safely. This means: Watching your speed, paying attention to the road, not talking on the phone, etc
- Get your children involved in your safe driving. When you get into the vehicle, invite them to tell you what to do – put on your seatbelt, keep both hands on the wheel, check your mirrors, check your blindspots, etc
- Teach your children to pay attention on the road. Play games with your kids while you are driving to help them spot the dangers or watch blindspots or make quick decisions on the go. Kids will love "helping" you drive and spotting potential hazards. They might even spot hazards you don't see. (Of course, never rely on your children's abilities to help you drive safely)
- Teach your children to anticipate what could happen next. For example, as you approach an intersection, as your child to suggest all of the things that could happen and how you could avoid them. For example: "The light could be green so we can drive through; the light could turn yellow so we should slow down; the light could turn red so we should be able to stop; someone else could run the intersection so we should slow down slightly and check each street; the person in front of us might stop suddenly so we should keep our distance from them", etc
- Teach your children about consequences. One of the biggest reasons that teenagers take big risks on the road is because they like to show off for their friends. But related to that is their inability to consider the long-term consequences of dangerous choices. Drunk driving, for example, can have serious or even deadly consequences. So can speeding or texting. You can start early by teaching your children to think about what the longer term consequences of their actions might be and then to decide accordingly
Safe driving starts in the home…LONG before kids get licensed and get behind the wheel themselves. You can teach them good habits before they start driving so that once they become teenagers and stop listening to you, they'll have good driving habits instilled in them