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For many parents, the teenage driving years are both good and bad. Finally, your kids can drive themselves to their activities, giving you additional free time. But, on the other hand, parents are aware of the statistics and the risks of teens behind the wheel. As a parent, you may feel like you don’t have any control over your teens’ driving, but you do. Here are the two most important things you can do to keep your teen safe:

1. Model the right behavior.

While teenagers may seem like they don’t listen to you anymore, they pay attention to your actions. Make sure you’re doing all the right things and following all the rules when you drive.

A teen driver asking her dad for directions to their destination

2. Put together a formal agreement between you and your teen.

Studies have shown that teens show less risky driving behaviors when there is a formal agreement in place, detailing how they need to behave when they’re behind the wheel. The items in your agreement should align with the behaviors you model on a daily basis. Examples of important components of a formal agreement might include:

  • Always wear a seatbelt.
    90% of teens with an agreement wear seatbelts, while only 53% of those without an agreement do.
  • Never drink and drive.
    94% of teens with an agreement never or rarely drive after drinking, while only 39% of those without an agreement do.
  • Never text while driving.
    91% of teens with an agreement never or rarely text while driving, while 61% of those without an agreement do.
  • Obey the speed limit.
    Speeding is a big problem for new drivers, especially. Make sure you’re showing them that staying under the speed limit is important.
  • Speak up if a driver isn’t driving safely.
    Help your teens come up with the right words to use if they’re in the car with an unsafe driver, and options for how to get home using other means.

Source: "You can keep your teen drivers safer. Here are 7 ways that can help," SafeKids Worldwide