Getting a driver’s license is an important milestone for teens, but being a beginner driver carries special risks. Youth are injured on our roads at exceedingly high rates. While only 13 per cent of licensed drivers are between the ages of 16 and 24, this age group accounts for 24 per cent of fatalities and 26 per cent of serious injuries. Per kilometre travelled, young drivers between 16 and 24 years old are at a higher risk of death from motor vehicle collisions than all other age groups. (Source: Transport Canada)
Despite today’s safer cars, smarter technology, and better roads, these numbers have stayed fairly consistent for more than a decade. That’s why it’s so important for parents and caregivers to take an active role in in helping their young driver become a better and more responsible driver.
Get the conversation started
- Outline your teen’s key driving responsibilities;
- Decide on the associated consequences if those responsibilities are not met; and
- Define your role in helping your teen become a safe driver.
Once you talk over each issue and come to an agreement, fill out the rules and consequences in the spaces provided and have all parties sign it. Be sure to post it in a prominent place, like on your fridge, so that it serves as a reminder and can be re-examined and tweaked as your teen becomes a more experienced driver.
Practise, practise, practise!
Driver error is one of the biggest causes for young drivers becoming involved in collisions, and this makes sense. When you’re new to something, you’re more prone to making mistakes until you get some experience under your belt.
Be sure to give your young driver lots of time to practise with an experienced driver. Consider signing them up for a course with an accredited driving school, and continue to drive with them even after they’ve earned their license. The graduated licensing process is designed to let new drivers acquire experience and skills gradually. Each province has different laws, so you and your teen should become familiar with yours and take them into consideration as you complete the agreement.