What Does Your Teen Need to Know Before Driving?

What does your teen need to know before driving?

teen inside vehicle

Photo by Tobi

The transition from adolescence to adulthood often includes important milestones. One of the most significant for many teenagers is learning to drive. As a parent or guardian, it is crucial to ensure that your teen is well-prepared for this important step.

Below is a list of several things your teen needs to know before driving.

Understand the rules of the road

Before they hit the road, it is essential for your teen to have a comprehensive understanding of the rules and regulations that govern driving. Cover the basics of traffic laws, speed limits, road signs, and right-of-way rules. Make sure they are familiar with common driving maneuvers and techniques. These might include lane changes, turns, and parking. Skills like these will be essential for their everyday driving experiences.

Develop defensive driving skills

It is crucial to emphasize defensive driving to your teen as they embark on their journey behind the wheel. Defensive driving entails being acutely aware of potential hazards, constantly anticipating the actions of other drivers, and proactively taking appropriate measures to avoid accidents. 

One fundamental aspect to teach your teen is the significance of maintaining a safe following distance. Additionally, it is essential to instill in them the habit of being alert to potential distractions, emphasizing the need to keep their focus on the road and avoid engaging in activities that divert their attention away from driving. Lastly, educating your teen about defensive maneuvers, such as evasive steering and emergency braking, will equip them with the skills necessary to navigate unexpected situations effectively.

Practice responsible vehicle operation

Responsible vehicle operation goes beyond just knowing how to drive. Teach your teen about routine vehicle maintenance. Some simple maintenance techniques they should understand are checking tire pressure and fluid levels. Emphasize the significance of wearing seat belts at all times. Remind teens to never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Understand the consequences of reckless driving

Make sure your teen understands the potential consequences of reckless driving. Discuss the legal implications of erratic driving. Discuss what might happen if a teen receives a warning, fine, license suspension, or even criminal charges. Emphasize the personal consequences as well, including the risk of injury, harm to others, and the long-term impact of a negative driving record. Look at local driving laws to learn more about these long-term legal consequences in your city, county, and state.

Understand what to do in case of a car accident

Experiencing a car accident can be a highly stressful and overwhelming situation, especially for a young driver. It is crucial to prepare your teen for such an event and ensure they know what steps to take. Emphasize the importance of staying calm and composed. Instruct them to check if everyone involved is safe and immediately call emergency services if necessary. Advise them to document the accident scene by taking photos and gathering relevant information from the other party involved, such as names, contact details, and insurance information. Make sure they understand the significance of reporting the accident to the authorities so that a California Highway Patrol auto accident report, for example, is created.

Encourage good decision-making

Instill in your teen the importance of making responsible decisions while driving. Discuss the dangers of peer pressure, such as speeding or participating in risky behavior in the car. Teach them to prioritize safety over impressing friends. Remind them to never get into a vehicle with a driver who is impaired. Tell them to avoid engaging in reckless behavior.

Lead by example

As a parent or guardian, it is crucial to lead by example. Your teen is more likely to adopt safe driving habits if they witness you practicing them consistently. Demonstrate responsible driving behaviors, such as obeying traffic laws, using turn signals, and maintaining a calm and focused demeanor behind the wheel. Make it a habit to stow away your phone or use hands-free options to prioritize the safety of yourself and others on the road. By exhibiting these responsible driving practices, you not only instill in your teen the significance of following the rules but also showcase the positive impact it can have on their overall driving experience.


Preparing your teenager for the responsibilities of driving is a significant undertaking. Remember, open communication and leading by example are key to instilling good driving habits in your teen. With the right guidance and preparation, your teenager can embark on their driving journey with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the roads responsibly.

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