Q&A: My Teen Is About to Start Driving
Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman offers advice on how to talk to your teen about the rules and responsibilities of driving.
Q. I need driver's ed tips because my daughter will get her license soon. You hear so much news about teens and crashes. What should I be telling her?
A. Because she's expecting you to talk about accidents, catch your daughter off guard by educating her on the potential financial obligations that driving brings — like speeding tickets and insurance coverage. Ask her to look up what these costs are in your community and then explain that they will be her responsibility. Next, of course, discuss the importance of safety. If I were you, I'd explicitly say no driving while talking on the phone, texting or choosing music. She also has to become familiar with and follow the law regarding what times she can drive and how many kids can legally be in her car (that means no people sitting on laps). If she breaks any of these rules, she's not ready to drive a car. Finally, be aware that in 2010, 59% of teenage passenger deaths occurred in vehicles that had another teen behind the wheel. Help your daughter be a more careful driver by reminding her that every time she puts her key in the ignition, she assumes responsibility for someone else's — maybe even a friend's — life.
Originally published in the April 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.