Want to be a real hero to your teen? Take them for a drive!
Several years ago with great trepidation, lots of pride (and a “holy crap” I’m in the wrong seat!), I jumped in the car with my son behind the wheel, his learner’s permit in hand. Although I worked in professional driver assessment and training for decades I did not have a plan in place for the steps involved in coaching him through supervised driving, just jump in the car and drive…right?
After some frightening trips around city and rural roads, he got his license. But after several of his friends were involved in collisions in their first year of solo driving, I started to investigate why so many of these young drivers were crashing and if this was a common occurrence.
The First Year of Teen Driving Life:
I was blown away to learn through a National Highway Traffic Safety Association report that 42% of new drivers are involved in a collision in their first year behind the wheel and 37% in their second year.
The only way for any new driver to gain experience is through PRACTICE and who should they practice with…YOU!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that there were “Danger Zones” which were the leading causes of novice driver collisions. Number one on that list is…driver inexperience.
This was very well defined in a 2012 study published by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm Insurance which noted that when parents are actively engaged in the supervised driving process teens are:
- 50 percent less likely to crash when they start driving on their own,
- 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated,
- 30 percent less likely to drive distracted, and
- twice as likely to wear seat-belts.
A Search for a Better Way:
It became very clear that I needed to find a good resource for the best way to supervise my daughter’s driving when she was old enough. To be totally honest, other than the usual publications on the government websites, there were not many comprehensive courses for parents.
Through a referral from a colleague of mine, I was able to connect with a group in Minnesota that had a system they were using with their students. After reviewing their program and using it religiously with my daughters supervised driving, I was hooked!
From this program, www.coachingnewdrivers.com was born and our mission of helping parents become engaged in driving with their teenagers and taking another step towards reducing collision numbers in young drivers was launched.
Some simple tips to remember for driving with your teen for the first time are:
- Coaching starts early in life, your child will model their driving after yours.
- Follow a regimented process for supervised driving right from the first time behind the wheel to licensing day.
- Continue teaching them even after they have received their license.
Driving with your teen in the earlier stages on their driving journey is incredibly important. Their habits will be developed from watching you daily and the first few sessions more than you think!
The Coaching New Drivers Course will give you the tools to build a solid foundation of safe driving for your teen.
Learn more about the program here.