Road Trip Safety Tips for Teen Drivers

Summertime is the most anticipated time of year for a road trip – the temperature is warmer throughout the country, kids are out of school and parents can turn in unused vacation days for a much-needed break from the office. Each year, millions of families pack up their cars and hit the roads. However, as children grow into licensed teen drivers, the idea of taking a road trip with their friends becomes more enticing than spending hours in the car with mom and dad.

As only a parent can understand, it’s difficult to relinquish your car keys to your teen driver and let them go off on their own, but you also don’t want to hinder their growth and independence. If you decide that your “baby bird” is responsible enough to leave the nest for a few days without being under your watchful eye, here are some helpful tips – for parents and teens alike – to get them road-ready and help keep them safe during their travels.

Tips for Parents

  •     Establish ground rules. If you haven’t already done so, have your teen sign a driving contract with you. This helps reinforce the driving behavior they’re expected to demonstrate behind the wheel and makes it clearer when they’ll need your permission to deviate from the rules. Just because you’ll be out of sight doesn’t mean the contract should be out of mind.
  •     Know the planned route for the trip. Regardless of whether your teen’s idea of the ultimate road trip is a two-hour drive to the beach with an overnight stay, or something more ambitious like driving cross-country, it’s important to know their planned stops ahead of time in case of an emergency. Be sure to keep a record of the names, numbers and addresses of any hotels, campgrounds, parks, landmarks or other sites they plan to visit. And, since most teens love photo apps like Snapchat and Instagram, share in the fun and encourage them send you pictures as they stop along the way.
  •     Teach teens how to read a road atlas. Your son or daughter may look at you like you’re from another planet when you present them with this ancient artifact, but GPS isn’t always reliable and cell service can be lost when driving in certain areas. Another option is to have your teen print out directions for each leg of their trip ahead of time.
  •     Check your insurance limits…

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