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Bright Futures

Articles and Updates from Phoenix Children's

October 12, 2020, Perez, Liz ,
Setting Ground Rules for Teenage Drivers

“Mom are you ready?” Just the thought of riding as a passenger while my teenage son takes the driver’s seat was already making me nervous. I sat down, buckled my seat belt and silently said a quick prayer. I couldn’t help it; I was extremely nervous the first few times my son practiced driving.

Parents are powerful role models for their teen drivers. Our children are always observing us: Make sure the driving behaviors they observe will help them become safe drivers. Even after teens obtain their license, they are still inexperienced. Lay down basic ground rules before handing over the car keys. Make a formal agreement with your teen driver, and remember to enforce it. There are many parent-teen driver agreements available online that you can choose from, or you can write your own.

Here are some helpful rules to put in place:

  • Obey all the rules of the road, like always wearing a seatbelt, staying within the speed limit and obeying all traffic lights, street signs and road markings.
  • Stay focused on the road. Never use your phone while driving (reading, writing, watching, recording and sending messages).
  • Do not drive when angry, tired or upset. Driving after staying up all night studying for a test can be just as bad as driving under the influence.
  • Never allow any alcohol or illegal drugs in the car, and never operate a car when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Over-the-counter and prescription medication can also affect driving ability.
  • Limit the number of teen passengers.  Just think of the last time you drove next to a car full of teens.
  • Drive only when permission is given to use the car.

Violating any of these established rules should constitute grounds for a pre-determined consequence.

To be honest, I thought my son would never go for the agreement when I spoke to him about it. To my surprise, he agreed without hesitation. As parents, we have the responsibility and liability of teaching our children responsible driving.  I’m still a little bit nervous when my son is behind the wheel. However, I have learned to be supportive of my newly licensed teen so he can become a safe, experienced driver.

For more resources on teen driving, visit our website or call 602-933-3350.

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