teen girl learning how to drive

Keys to Defensive Driving for Teens

By Randall Johnson

Defensive driving remains one of the top ways to stay safe on the road, but it’s not something new drivers learn while getting their license. If you’re worried about your teen finally getting behind the wheel, as parents naturally are, then the best thing you can do is teach them these keys to defensive driving.

Staying Focused

The main key to defensive driving is the ability to remain focused. Doing so is more difficult than it sounds, however. There are dozens of aspects to driving that require your attention from your speed and position, to traffic signs and road conditions, to USA crime and negligence.

Now throw in the excitement of passing their driver’s test along with being new to these tasks, and you can begin to see how vital it is to teach your teen the importance of staying focused. While their training and practice will cover most of this, you can go one step further by teaching them to avoid distractions.

Using the phone, eating, and playing with the radio are the three main distractions that cause accidents. You can help them avoid these hazards by modeling a focused, defensive driver when they are in the car with you. Having honest conversations about the need to focus on the road also helps.

Staying Alert

Being alert and focused may sound similar, but this key to defensive driving focuses on the driver’s condition instead of elements around them. When a driver is sleepy or under the influence, their reaction time is slowed down. The slower their reaction time, the higher the likelihood of a wreck.

You’re more than likely ahead of the game when it comes to teaching your kids how dangerous drinking and driving can be. If not, a driver’s safety course will hammer home that point. It’s essential that you talk to your teen about drowsy driving, too, which is another leading cause of accidents.

Getting Defensive

With those two key elements in play, the final aspect to defensive driving is watching out for others on the road and proactively thinking about avoiding accidents. The goal is to never be caught off guard because of another driver’s actions.

A proactive mindset covers all bases, starting with the worst-case scenario. If your teen got in an accident, who would they call? Your teen should know the number of legal representation, like this Bay Area car accident law firm, as well as the number for their insurance provider. They also need to know how to talk with law enforcement and the other individuals involved in the accident.

Starting here helps them understand the reality and severity of an accident, which sets you up to explain the need for defensive driving tactics. These tactics start with anticipating the actions of other drivers, then adjusting your driving to reduce risks. These eight keys to defensive driving are guaranteed to help your teen:

  • Keep the doors locked and your seatbelt on
  • Scan your surrounding for aggressive or bad drivers every 20-30 seconds
  • Never assume other drivers will practice safety measures or obey the rules of the road
  • Allow 3-4 seconds of driving time between you and the car in front of you, if not more
  • Slow down in less-than-ideal conditions
  • Always have an escape route in mind to avoid crashes
  • When facing multiple risks, handle them one at a time in order of importance
  • Keep your vehicle in a position that offers maximum visibility to other drivers