Addressing A Need For Speed In Your Driving Teen
Parents always approach their teen’s learning to drive with trepidation. On the one hand, it’s a fantastic achievement and something to celebrate. On the other, it means your teen’s opening themselves up to a world of potential trouble. What’s more, there’s nothing you can do about it. With their own vehicle comes a certain amount of freedom. Driving also puts a high level of responsibility on their shoulders.
Which is why it can be so disappointing when you see them driving off at high speed. Worse, they may receive a speeding ticket. In those moments, your worst fears will become true. You may even start to doubt whether your teen is ready for the driving responsibility. And, as they still fall under your care, it’s down to you to change that. It’s unlikely, after all, that their friends are going to tell them to slow down. And, while your teen may not usually listen to what you tell them, it’s vital you make them heed your advice here.
Instead of worrying each time they head out, follow these pointers in an attempt to change things.
Be careful not to jump to conclusions
When it comes to teens, it never pays to jump to conclusions. Don’t assume that your teen is a dangerous driver because you saw them pull away fast once. While not ideal, they may just have been showing off to friends in a location they knew was safe. Even if they’ve had an accident of some kind, never assume that it was their fault. Ask for the details, and be the first to head to the website of an injury lawyer who can ensure justice is done if someone else was at fault. This way, your teen will feel supported, and are, therefore, more likely to drive safe and prove you right.
But, the proving you right method can backfire if you jump down your teen’s throat about this. If you accuse them of dangerous driving, for example, even a good driver may throw caution to the wind. After all, they’ve been accused of the crime already. If your teen is known for their rebellion, a move like this could be catastrophic. So, always use a mutual, non-accusatory tone when addressing these issues. Make this a conversation, not an attack. If you feel things heating up, step away and come back to this at another stage.
Show them the statistics
We may have trouble making our teens listen to us, but statistics are difficult to argue with. And, there are plenty out there which show the risks some teen drivers take. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in U.S. teens. That should be enough to give anyone a reality check. On top of which, drivers between 16-19 are a massive three times more likely to have a crash. When faced with rates like those, your teen is sure to take things a little more carefully next time they get behind the wheel.
Bear in mind that you don’t want to scare them away from driving. Being new to the road is a daunting prospect as it is. Get this wrong, and you could put them off driving altogether. Only show these statistics if you’re sure they’re making bad decisions on the road. And, don’t leave them to dwell on these alone. Look at the numbers with them, and talk them through your concerns. Make sure to use plenty of supportive language as well. Stress your belief in their ability to drive well. Make sure, too, to back off if you see them getting too worried. You’ll be able to tell when you’ve done enough. Don’t push further than that.
Explain the risk to other drivers
Often, the issue comes from teens overestimating their abilities on the road. After all, they’re fresh out of lessons, and passing their test is sure to have felt amazing. But, they don’t realize that most driving skill comes from experience. They know the basics, but there’s still an awful lot to learn. And, one such lesson which you might want to teach is the risk dangerous driving poses to those around them.
You don’t need us to tell you that teenagers aren’t fantastic at considering other people’s emotions. As such, they may think that there’s no risk, as long as they’re able to control the car at high speeds. In truth, though, fast drivers are more of a threat to those around them. If risking their own life isn’t enough to stop the behavior, your teen may think twice when they face killing a family. It’s a harsh lesson to learn, but an important one. Of course, you don’t need to word it as bluntly as that. Stress the risks they pose to other drivers, and your teen can fill the gaps on their own.
Take a severe stand
It’s always tricky knowing when to get severe with teens. These years are a battle for their independence, after all. But, if you’ve done all the above and have proof that they’re still driving dangerously, you might need to take a stand. Yes, we’re talking about taking their car keys off of them. Now, you don’t need us to tell you that this won’t go down well. Only take this step if you have undeniable proof. It may be that the driving tickets are mounting, or that they’ve been seen speeding on many occasions. You could remove their driving rights until they’ve paid their speeding fines. Or, you could insist that they’re only allowed to drive if they do so with you. Operate this way for a month or two, and use it as a learning curb. You’ll be able to spot and alter any bad habits they’ve picked up. And, with a bit of luck, the threat of having mom along for the ride will stop them speeding again. This won’t be an easy stand to take, but it could well save your teen from a terrible fate.