How to Teach Your Teen About Being a Responsible Driver

Safe Driving Habits Begin the First Time Teens Hit the Road

Teen Driving Responsibility
Teens who learn how to be responsible drivers are safer on the road. Gary S Chapman / Getty Images

Driving a car is a lot of responsibility. Teens do not always comprehend how important these responsibilities are to their own safety as well as that of the other drivers around them.

Parents need to not only talk to their teen about these responsibilities. You can show your teen what each responsibility means while teaching them to drive.

Tips for Teaching Your Teen the Responsibilities of Driving

Car Maintenance

Encourage your teen to be involved with the maintenance of the vehicle they drive.

  • They should know when the car does not sound normal and when to pull into the garage to seek help.
  • If they feel it is a minor problem, they should tell you as soon as possible.
  • Have them read the car manual and understand the basic functions of the car's parts.
  • Have your teen keep the car clean and gassed up.
  • New drivers should know how to put air in the tires, gas in the tank and check the oil.

Follow the Law

Require your teen to follow the laws of your state for permit, graduated driving and other licensing requirements. Each state will be different and your teen should follow all of the laws that apply to them without fail.

This may include:

  • Logging all practice hours required before taking their driver's road test.
  • Driving only to and from school or an after school job.
  • Restrictions for driving past a certain time at night or with unlicensed passengers in the car.

    If you allow your teen to slide in any of these areas, you are modeling to them that the rules of the road do not matter.

    Financial Responsibility

    Generally, when teenagers have to put out their own money they take responsibility a little more seriously.

    If your teen has a job, considering allowing them to pay for their own car insurance.

    In the least, make them pay for their own gas and the occasional oil change or car wash.

    It is okay to help them out, but you should not pay for everything. Spending money is part of driving and owning a car!

    Passenger Safety

    Explain to your teen the responsibility they have for the passengers in their car.

    While accidents happen, many are preventable by simply following the traffic laws. The guilt of having an accident when you are fooling around behind the wheel is not something that anyone wants to live with. Your teen will understand that.

    They may think you are making too much out of it. This is normal immaturity and why many graduated licensing programs include a rule about no friends being in the car for the first couple of months.

    Other Drivers

    Explain to your teen the responsibility they have to other drivers on the road. Teens need to know that the road is a shared place. Remind your teen of this fact often.

    When you are weaving in and out of the traffic, talking on your cell phone or texting while driving, not paying attention to street signs or speeding, you are not being considerate of other drivers.

    Have the Responsible Driver Conversation Often

    Driving is one of the biggest steps toward maturity and independence for teens.

    Continue to talk to them about safe driving even as they get older.

    More experienced seventeen- and eighteen-year-old teens need reminders too and you will continue doing your best to keep your teenager safe on the road.