- By Jana Rhodes
- Posted August 15, 2015
Setting Expectations for Safety
Everyone is excited to take that first drive alone after passing the drivers test. However, before cutting your teen loose on the road, it is important to have a conversation about this new privilege and the responsibilities that come with it. If you have the difficult conversations now and get agreement from your teen about the rules and expectations, you can set the foundation for safe driving behavior.
MOTOsafety has prepared a free downloadable driving pledge to help you have this conversation and create a written agreement that you can refer back to when necessary. The pledge is a thorough list of behaviors that your teen should do or not do in order to be a safe driver. However, it is meant to be a guide for a conversation, not just a paper to be signed. When used as a prompt for talking about safety, the pledge can help you approach sensitive topics.
Obeying Traffic Laws
The first section of the pledge covers basic traffic laws, such as wearing a seat belt, obeying the speed limit, an not drinking and driving. This can sound simple, but your teen might need to hear you say clearly that speeding is not okay. If you cover these basic rules in your conversation, there will be no room for your teen to claim gray areas later.
Staying Focused while Driving
Remind your teen to minimize distractions while driving. This includes phone calls, text messages, eating, or headphones. Review the statistics on texting while driving and point out that voice-activated texting is still a distraction. Make it clear that it is okay to have a delayed response to your calls and texts because safety comes first.
Acting as a Responsible Driver
This is the time to discuss rules about when driving is allowed and what information your teen should give you before leaving. It also covers proper care of the vehicle and meeting any financial responsibilities that you have agreed to such as gas and insurance. While these rules can differ between various families, the key is to set the right expectations and get agreement before driving begins.
We know that it can be hard but necessary to bring up some of these important areas. Let the MOTOsafety driving pledge serve as a guide to a meaningful conversation about safety expectations.