Planning and going on a summer family road trip can be a lot of work, particularly if you’ll be doing a majority of the driving. If you have a newly licensed teen driver in the family, you may be excited to take on the role of a passenger.
Although your new driver may be conscientious, you should carefully consider whether your son or daughter should take over the wheel on your family trip.
If you’re insistent your teen contributes to the summer vacation driving, here are some things to consider before handing over the keys:
100 Deadliest Days of Summer
Memorial Day through Labor Day is seen as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” for teen drivers. This time is particularly dangerous because school is out and more teen drivers are on the road than any other time of the year.
Also, teen drivers may be venturing out on unfamiliar roads and encounter roadway hazards from distractions in the car to an increase of traffic congestion, road construction, and inclement weather. Road situations they may be unfamiliar with.
Even if you’re traveling as a family, with your teen behind the wheel, it doesn’t guarantee he or she will drive more responsibly or safer. If anything, being responsible for a car load of family members may increase your teen’s stress and ability to concentrate.
If you want your teen to drive for a stretch of the trip, or he or she has expressed keen interest in driving, it’s important to sit down and talk about your expectations. First of all, try to pick a route or a time of day that is less busy on the road and let your teen drive then.
While driving with your teen is a great learning experience, it can also be stressful, and some teens don’t take suggestions or “criticism” well.
Brush up on rules regarding road construction, traffic congestion, and other potential road hazards. If your teen feels prepared, it’s more likely that he or she will stay calm under pressure.
Be Prepared to Take Over the Wheel
Longer road trips often mean multiple drivers take turns taking a nap.
It’s crucial you’re available to
- answer any questions your teen may have,
- act as a second set of eyes, and
- take over the wheel if driving conditions to become too dangerous or if your teen is struggling behind the wheel.
Another important thing to consider is whether your teen is legally able to drive if he or she is driving with a permit, particularly when crossing state lines.
Never force your teen to drive if he or she is not interested or is too stressed out or tired to focus on the road.
The average American driver will have to file an auto accident claim once every 17.9 years. There’s no doubt distracted driving on the part of teenagers is a definite contributor to the statistic.
There are various reasons teens engage in distracted driving. From sending text messages to being preoccupied with other youngsters in the vehicle, these dangerous distractions are amplified when combined with a teen’s inexperience.
This is why parents need to understand the importance of teaching their teen’s responsibility behind the wheel. Click here to learn more.