Six Elements You Should Include in a Parent/Teen Driving Contract

If your teen is driving, your number one priority is to keep him or her crash free and safe. You may already have verbal laws in place, but to further instill good habits, a written pact displayed on the fridge will help reinforce safe driving.

Take the next step and create a parent/teen-driving contract that includes these key elements:

  1. Agree that once a week, you will get in the car with your teen and have him or her drive around town explaining the road rules to you as you go. For instance, he or she may explain the proper distance for breaking behind another car. Doing this will reinforce driver knowledge. It will also boost confidence in both you and your teen driver. Perhaps one week, you might consider doing the driving and have your teen critique your skills and knowledge.
  2. Agree that all distractions will be eliminated until your teen has more experience behind the wheel. For instance, insist that the radio, cell phone, mobile device, etc. be turned off. If a call needs to be made, have your teen agree that he or she will safely pull over to the side of the road or find a parking space before making the call. Passengers can be distractions, too, so insist that no more than one (non-smoking) passenger be in the car. In addition, eating while driving is a distraction because it takes away concentration and compromises proper handling of the steering wheel. Any distraction takes control and attention away from your teen driver.
  3. Agree that seat belts are to be worn at all times by everyone in the car no matter what.
  4. Agree that the speed limit will always be obeyed.
  5. Agree that you, as the parent, will practice what you preach and also will abide by contract rules. Leading by example is the best teacher to reinforce good habits and your credibility with your teen will go a long way.
  6. Have your teen suggest what the consequences might be if any part of the contract is broken by either of you. Making your teen apart of the decision-making process will help solidify buy-in, promote teamwork and suggest that you are “in this together.”

The parent/teen driving contract will work only if you both agree to abide by it. It won’t always be easy, but it’s the right thing to do. Draw one up today and stick to it for three months and see what happens.

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