House rules for teen drivers are something that parents have to discuss with their children before they get their driver’s licenses. They need to involve the children and keep them in the loop so that they understand why these boundaries are important for them and the family. Parents should establish guidelines from day one when their children begin practicing driving. There will be many more as time goes on, and all of these bring with them an opportunity to set boundaries, expectations, and consequences. By establishing these rules, parents can still ensure order even when their children are behind the wheel. Here are some house rules parents should set with their teen drivers before they hot the road.
1. Drinking and Driving
This is a definite no-no for all teens. Drinking and driving comeswith consequences, including hefty bills for the car, car insurance for the year, and a trip to jail. Not to mention, the possible death of other humans or animals. Teens should not drink alcohol at all when driving. This is because no one over the age of 21 can drive a car if they get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Impress upon your children the importance of abstaining from drugs and alcohol before and while behind the wheel.
2. Cell Phones and Distracted Driving
Using smartphones to make calls while driving puts the teen driver in danger of an accident. If no hands-free devices are available, try to continue the conversation without using them. If the conversation is important enough, stop driving and park the car. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving took 3,142 lives in 2020.
Teens need to avoid all distractions while they are driving. The same goes for any other distraction that could lead to an accident. Teens should always pay attention when they are behind the wheel and avoid all distractions, no matter how small they might seem.
3. Seat Belts
Teen drivers should always wear seat belts when they are behind the wheel. This is a surefire way to keep your passengers safe if an accident were to occur. Wearing a seatbelt and requiring all passengers to follow suit can save lives. Besides, it’s the law in most states.
4. Nighttime Driving
Driving at night is not recommended for teens. Even if they are driving a parental vehicle, they need to follow the same rules and restrictions that adults follow. This is the same with any other time of the day or night when adults drive. If a teen driver gets into an accident at night, there may be no one to see them in time and help them out. Set stringent rules about using vehicles at night and expectations for curfews, check-ins, and more.
5. Learner’s Permit
A learner’s permit means that the teen is still in the learning process. Parents should talk to their children about this to prepare them for driving rules. As your teen follows these rules, you can grant more privileges and freedoms as time goes on. But there will always be those who do not follow the rules and regulations of the family, so parents should establish consequences for when this happens. Student accidents canhappen when everyone involved becomes a little too comfortable. Ensure your teen remains sharp and follows the rules of the road and your house at all times.
Speeding in a vehicle is not safe for anyone. Allowing your child to speed, even a little bit, may encourage even more unlawful; behavior when you’re not in the car with them. Let your kids know how dangerous it can be, and that they’ll be responsible for the cost of the ticket and other costs if they are caught going over the limit.
7. Know the Law
This is a big one since the law keeps changing depending on what the state or town is doing at the time. The law may change monthly, so parents need to make sure that their teens know what it says and how they can abide by it while still enjoying the freedom of a vehicle. For instance, a graduated driver licensing (GDL) is where teens can drive with a special license given to them at just sixteen years of age. However, they are still not allowed to drive alone or without a parent. Make sure you and your teen are up to date on the limitations of their license.
8. Weather Conditions
Ensure your teen driver always drives in good weather conditions. While this may be a little unrealistic, remember that you don’t have to allow your child to drive in weather you’re not comfortable with. Consider the skill of your teen, and whether he or she can handle the limited visibility, slicker roads, and other things that could affect performance.
9. Number Of Passengers
Teen drivers should be aware that they can only ferry a group of teenagers at a time. They also cannot have more than three passengers in their car at any point while they are driving. It is important to know the laws in their state because this may change depending on how many passengers there are. Limiting the number of teenage passengers may reduce their likelihood of getting into an accident. It is also important to ensure they are not texting or talking on the phone while driving.
10. Follow Through on Punishments
Be very clear with the rules you set and the consequences for not following them. Often times, kids are motivated by what may be taken away from them if they were to violate the rules. So follow through with punishments to show them you mean business. They are more likely to think twice before they make a brash decision that can cost them their vehicle.
To boot, teach them the reality of legal consequences for even a minor accident, such as fines and jail time, in addition to the possibility of life-changing damage such as debilitating injuries, trauma, or even accidental death.
Teen drivers should always realize that these rules are in place for their safety and to help keep them safe. If a parent has been putting pressure on their child to get behind the wheel, they need to stop. It is important to remember that all states have different laws for public safety, and teens must understand all of them.