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Teaching Young Drivers the Rules of the Road

Finally, a license! Amidst all the excitement, be sure to teach your teens to avoid these mistakes.

(Photo: XiXinXing / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

All drivers must start somewhere, and sometimes that means learning from mistakes.

AAA driving instructors Paul Neubeck and Howard Garthwaite are quite familiar with some of the missteps new drivers make.

Here are a few common mistakes that new drivers make, plus tips on how parents can help their newly licensed teens avoid them.

Distracted Driving

Cellphones, conversations, radio controls, breakfast – all are distractions that can take the focus off driving and put drivers at risk of a collision. New drivers are particularly susceptible because of their inexperience.

Remind teens that driving requires their full attention, and that something as trivial as changing the radio station can be dangerous. Set rules and expectations for teen drivers and consequences for breaking them. For example, if you catch your teen texting or calling while driving, limit their cellphone use or restrict their driving privileges.

Teach Awareness

Motorists must be aware of everything going on around them. New drivers often have a laser focus on the road ahead of them, but miss what’s going on in their peripheral vision.

Teach your teens to look left and right as well as straight ahead, and to look for “red flags” like a pedestrian stepping into the street or a truck trying to merge into their lane. Potential hazards can be avoided if your teen knows how to assess the situation and act quickly.

Following Too Closely

While driving, motorists should leave two seconds of space between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead. In bad weather, that space should increase. New drivers may not understand the importance of this guideline.

Remind teens of the potential consequences of tailgating and perhaps share some statistics on rear-end collisions. But the most important thing parents can do is set a good example. You are your teen’s first role model when it comes to most things, including driving. Always keep a safe distance while driving so that your teen will learn from your example.

There’s new technology on the market that can help keep young drivers safe. Click here to learn more.

How do you facilitate conversations with your teen about safe driving habits? Tell us in the comments below.

Set your teen up for success by enrolling them in AAA Driving School.

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