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How to Help Your Teen Be a Safe Driver

How to Help Your Teen Be a Safe Driver

The teenage years bring a lot of growth and development for your child as well as new-found freedoms and responsibilities! One of the biggest challenges for many parents during these years is loosening the reins and trusting that their teen will be safe on the road with a brand new drivers’ license. We understand that it can be a very scary process to feel comfortable letting your child drive on their own. First we want to recognize that your fear comes from a good place – you want them to be safe. However, we also want to recognize that in a few short years your child will no longer be “a child” and will enter into many more responsibilities of adulthood like working, financial planning, dating relationships (if they’re not already dating) and more. Learning how to drive and becoming a safe driver is a key step in their progression from adolescence to adulthood and the good news is that you get to be in the passenger seat helping them throughout the process – literally! 


Learning How to Drive

The first step for most teens will be to get a “Learner’s Driving Permit” at age fifteen. In Georgia, this requires that teens complete a vision and knowledge exam and have a parent or guardian sign off on an application at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once they have a permit, they will be allowed to drive with anyone over the age of twenty-one who has a valid driver’s license.

When driving with your teen, it’s important to stay relaxed and calm. Try to allow them to drive in easy, uncrowded areas like empty parking lots (schools can be a good option on the weekend, churches can be good options during the week). Let them get really comfortable doing simple aspects like driving and turning in a small area before going out in a neighborhood or progressing to streets. You can start with basic skills, then introduce other scenarios such as driving at night, on country roads, in bumper-to-bumper traffic, on freeways, at dusk, in rainy weather and so on. You can get into the habit of handing your teen the car keys when you’re out running errands together. There is no substitute for experience!


Once Licensed

When your teen has their license they need to adhere to some rules for their protection. The following rules exist in the state of Georgia for new drivers:

  1. For the first six months after receipt, they are only allowed to drive with immediate family members.
  2. During the second six months after receipt, they can drive only one person in the vehicle who is not an immediate family member. 
  3. They are not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 5am until they are of 18 years of age and apply for a class C license. 


Staying Safe on the Road

  1. Only allow them in a car with airbags. 
  2. Keep your car’s maintenance done. Usually, you should bring your vehicle in for an oil change and inspection every 5,000 miles.  This ensures that there is less of a chance of breakdowns or issues while they are driving. 
  3. Make sure they wear their seatbelt. All the time, without exception. The risk of an accident being fatal greatly decreases when everyone wears their seatbelt. Parents can set a good example for their children by buckling themselves in every time they get in the car and checking to make sure all of their passengers are buckled in, too.
  4. Ensure your child is aware of when they should take extra precautions for weather, such as driving slower if it is raining, or waiting to drive if there is a storm or bad weather. 
  5. Try to ensure your child sticks to driving curfews.
  6. Talk to your child about the importance of refraining from texting and driving – not only is it dangerous, but Georgia is a “Hands Free” state. This means that it is illegal for them to be on their phone while driving. This is something they could be pulled over and ticketed for doing so! 
  7. Make sure your child understands that they should never get in the car with a driver who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs and that they themselves should never drive while under the influence. 
  8. Establish guidelines for where they are allowed to drive, such as a radius around your home or to certain places. 

Learning to drive is a big step for both teens and parents. Parents, we encourage you to help your child learn responsibility while driving.


For questions or any other concerns, Augusta Pediatrics can be reached at (706) 868-0389. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.

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