The beginning of fall marks a busy time of year for your teen. In addition, to being year closer to graduation and beginning life on their own, their social and academic calendar is full. Having a licensed teen driver can be convenient for the whole family, but it can also make your life as a parent a little more stressful. Even if your teen is a safe and smart driver, the thought of letting your young driver be out and about after dark can add to your worries.
At dusk, the chance of your teen being involved in a car accident increases. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that some of the deadliest crashes involving teens take place between 6pm and midnight. With the seasonal changes bringing shorter daylight hours, it’s important to set a curfew with your teen which will work with his or her schedule, but will reduce the risk of late night accidents.
Setting A Curfew
Unless your teen is a homebody, it’s likely you’ll have to set up a curfew for weeknights and weekends.
Before you settle on a curfew for your teen, consider the following:
• Don’t Be Pressured To Be “Like Everyone Else” – If your teen’s friends get to stay out until midnight, but that doesn’t make you comfortable, don’t feel like you have to say “yes.” Explain to your teen why you don’t agree with a midnight curfew and try to compromise. You may not be popular, but you’re the parent.
• Find Out If There Are Driving Or Community Curfews – Plan your teen’s curfew around city or state rules. Check to see if there are any teen curfews in place within your community. Similarly, some states have restrictions on teen driving during the “deadliest” time of night.
• Have Clear Expectations – Talk to your teen about your expectations regarding driving and curfews. Many parents only allow late night driving (after 8pm) for school activities, work or a special occasion like prom. Stress to your teen “joyriding” is not only potentially dangerous at night, but can be an expensive, gas guzzling activity. Once you have made your expectations known, make the consequences clear as well. Be consistent.
• Be The “Place To Be” – Sometimes having a house full of teens can be annoying, however, if you make your home the welcoming place for a hangout you don’t need to worry about your teen’s whereabouts.
One of the most important things to do when setting up and sticking to a curfew is communicating with your teen, as well as the parents of your teen’s friends. Whether you ask your teen to check in every couple of hours or to wake you when he or she returns home, you are allowing your teen to be responsible, but also asking him or her to be respectful of your wishes. Curfews don’t need to be a stressful subject between you and your teen if you allow them to be part of the conversation.
Tragically, teenagers have the highest accident rates among all age groups. This may come as no surprise since teens are just beginning to drive. Car accidents among young people 15-20 years old is the leading cause of death. This is why teen drivers especially young males usually have the highest car insurance rates. Click here for some simple tips that will help your young driver safer and more focused while on the road.