Most high school students would much rather sleep late, play video games, and perhaps work at a summer job than go to summer school, but the one class that changes that decision for many teens is driver education. Handing the car keys to your child is a big turning point for both parents and teens, and a new website from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called Safe at the Wheel helps families prepare for that big moment.
- How graduated driver licenses work (something Illinois PTA has supported for over a decade)
- A summary of traffic safety laws for each state (here are the Illinois laws)
- The importance of driver education at home
- How to set ground rules for teen drivers
While accident rates and traffic fatalities for teen drivers have decreased, they are still more likely to be involved in accidents than the average driver. These accidents are not due to teen drivers not knowing the basic rules of the road or safe driving practices but because of inexperience, risk-taking, and peer pressure. Teen drivers are 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky driving behavior with a teenage passenger with them compared to driving alone, and when more than one teenage passenger is with them, they are 3 times more likely to take risks on the road.
Driver education courses may teach your teen how to drive, but families play an important role in helping teen drivers gain experience and avoiding risky behavior. Talking to your teen about driving responsibly is important, but even more significant is setting a good example. By modeling safe driving habits, you help to teach your child how a vehicle should be operated, even long before they are big enough to see over the dashboard or have their feet reach the pedals.