Teaching Teens To Be Responsible Drivers

Did you know that a 17 year old driver with a P1 licence is 4 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver over 26 years. Younger drivers, fresh off their L-Plates should know the road rules but driving is more than just knowing the rules. Becoming a responsible driver is key to becoming a safe driver. While we give young drivers a book to learn the road rules, often we don't talk to them about the responsibilities of being a driver on our roads. Here are just a couple of topics you might want to bring up with your young driver before and during their learning to drive journey.

Put Social Media On Hold While Driving

Todays teens are totally absorbed in the social media culture. Every year we hear of fatalities due to drivers using mobile phones and social media while driving. Live streaming on Snapchat is becoming a popular pass time for young P-Plate drivers who want to document and display every aspect of their lives. It’s of vital importance that you continue to remind young drivers of the danger of posting on social media while driving. P-Platers should not have a phone in their hand but it’s also a good idea to make sure passengers in the car are not distracting the driver with social media filming. Help your young driver to understand how this is a big distraction and help them to get the confidence to stay off social media during their road journey.


Control Road Rage

This is something that isn’t confined to younger drivers. It is easy to get angry when someone cuts into your lane too quickly, doesn’t signal or sneaks ahead of you but all drivers need to learn how to stay calm. Driving on roads, especially congested city roads, can make even the calmest person erupt like a volcano, so it’s very important to remain calm at all times. Talk to young drivers about situations where they might get frustrated as well as offering them some techniques on how to remain calm in different situations. Try these techniques from WikiHow and allow time for young drivers to debrief after a situation where they feel they might have lost control of their temper, so the anger doesn’t continue to build.

Know Your Car

Responsibility for a car goes beyond just driving. It’s important to show young drivers how to care for a car. Just because you have road side assistance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what to do in an emergency. Take some time to explain what the different lights on the dashboard mean, how to add water, coolant and oil and how to change a tire if they really need to (or at the very least know where the spare tire is). It’s a good idea to also explain to them what to do if they do breakdown. Help them to understand how to stay safe when waiting for help and what to do if they breakdown in a dangerous location, such as in the middle lane of a motorway. Encourage them not to take risks on busy roads.

Understanding How Their Driving Impacts On Others

Jeenee Co-Pilot is a great way to open up the dialog between P-Plate drivers and their mentors. It’s a great practice to have a quick chat every time they take the keys and review their driving behaviour. This is also the perfect time to discuss how the decisions they make affect those around them. If they are braking suddenly, talk about how that impacts the drivers behind them. Leaving space between cars, keeping to the speed limit and indicating early are all good ways to help other drivers prepare and react to their driving. Our roadways rely on responsible drivers and the more you talk about responsibility with your teen driver, the better they will be at being aware of their own driving and how it impacts on those around them.


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