It’s both exciting and also mildly terrifying when your child acquires their driver’s license. One on hand, you’re happy for them that they’ve achieved this life milestone, but on the other hand, you’re worried about all the new safety considerations and potential dangers that driving brings into their lives. Here are some suggestions for how to keep your kids honest about their driving habits, and make sure they stay safe on and off the road.
Check in often
One of the best ways to keep your kids honest about their driving habits is just to keep the door of communication open. Ask them how their driving is going. Do they have any questions? Have they run into any unforeseen hiccups while on the road? What are they really enjoying? Keep the tone of your questions positive, but leave the door open for questions.
If you create an environment of safe dialogue from the start, your kids will be a lot more likely to be honest with you if they feel scared, or if something negative ever does come up in their driving experience.
Enforce a zero phone policy in the car
In recent years, the number of accidents from distracted driving, including texting and talking on the phone has skyrocketed. In fact, over half of the road accidents in the U.S. have a call phone involved in some way, according to IceBike. To keep your kids honest and accountable, stress the importance of a zero phone policy when driving – no answering calls or texts, and no making calls or any other phone usage. Keep your kids honest about this by asking them directly – Have you used your phone in your car lately? If so, why? Was it a life or death situation? If not, then it’s not worth it.
Use speed limit remote monitoring
Due to advancements in technology, many car models today, including the new Mazda CX-5, offer robust tracking and monitoring systems for teen drivers. Parents can use these tracking and enforcement systems to set a specific pre-set speed limit. Any time a driver of the car goes above that speed limit, the system will sound an alert inside the car and also send an alert to the parent’s cell phone by email or text, according to US News.
Use geographical monitoring
In a similar way to how the speed limit remote monitoring device works, parents can also set specific geographic boundaries for their vehicles. When the vehicle goes outside of these set boundaries, the car will send an alert to parents on linked devices.
Employ seat-belt enablement
Another new features that many cars are including in recent years is an enablement system where a certain action must be taken (such as a seat belt being clicked into place) in order for another action to be enabled (such as being able to turn on the radio). Of course, this is something that not all cars offer, so if you really like the idea of this accountability method, you’re going to want to look carefully at car options for their included safety features.
Even though your kids may not like having a curfew, it’s one of the the best ways that you can keep tabs on them and make sure they’re driving only during the safest times of day. Ensure them that you’re not setting a curfew as a way to limit them, but as a way to keep them safe. Yes, they are in control of their driving habits, but they’re not in control of every other driver on the road, and there are certain times of the day when other drivers can be more dangerous. Many local towns may impose curfews for young drivers anyways, for safety reasons, so this is by no means an unreasonable request.
Thanks to technology, there are more ways than ever to keep your kids honest about their driving habits. But, don’t neglect the power of good, old-fashioned communication as one of the best accountability measures of all.