Teenagers taking the steering wheel: Guide for parents

When, as a father or mother, you have to decide if you allow your children to drive, try to leave your neighbours or friends’ examples aside. The influence of the social environment may not be good. Think and analyze the “reality” of the environment, the traffic system and the characteristics of your son/daughter.

Take into account

1- Young drivers are in risk.

Younger drivers (under 25 years old) have accidents three times more than the older ones, cause most of the accidents that they have, and die due to this cause more than due to any kind of illness.

2- Traffic in Argentina is very dangerous.

Take into account that traffic is a system formed by each person that circulates in the street, in interdependence of one each other. When you think of your son/daughter driving, don’t forget the risk that the ones who will share the system with his or her will mean.

3- Each person is a unique and different person. His / her precious life is also unique an unrepeatable.

Try to analyze your son / daughter’s characteristics to be a safe driver:

  • Personality (for example, if he is impulsive, unstable, short-tempered, you should better say “no, because I love you”).
  • Responsibility and maturity in daily situations (studies, job, an so on).
  • Attitude when facing a risk (if he/she tends to expose himself/herself or to be involved in dangerous situations “by chance”, don’t allow him/her).
  • Level of independence related to his/her friends ( a typical example of dependence which is alarming is the one of teenagers who always depend on their friends to decide what to do or where to go). They say that they do something, although they don’t want to, because the others decide it and they are anxious when they are obliged to do something different due to circumstances beyond their control.
  • Background of accidents and / or incidents (especially, violent personality)
  • Attitude towards the authority.

4- 17 years old is the minimum age, not the compulsory one to drive cars. If your son / daughter needs your authorization to obtain his/her driving license.

Use this right responsibly, for your son/daughter’s good.

5- You can change your mind about the authorization, but you can’t change the damages caused by and accident.

Although you have already allowed your son / daughter to obtain his / her driving license, if his / her behaviour as a driver is dangerous, you can ask for the its revocation. Anyway, don’t forget the old saying “prevention is better than cure”.

When you decide that your son / daughter is ready to learn how to drive, don’t leave him / her alone. Share with him / her the learning process and training.

A) If you can, sign him/her up in a good driving school.

An expert can teach him / her driving techniques in better safety conditions than you. But corroborate that the curriculum of the course includes the concepts of “defensive or safe driving”,  indispensable preparation for his/her safety and to make him /her be conscious at the traffic system.

B) Don’t give him/her the car, travel with him/her.

Accompany him/her in the training process, even after obtaining the driving license. Lead him when he / she is practising, and give him / her your experience, until you notice he/she is driving safely.

C) Be patient, respectful and reinforce his/her self-confidence, standing out his/her right behaviours and decisions.

D) Don’t consider anything settled.                                              

Accompany him/her and share your experience when you drive in different situations. For example, in rainy days, at night, with a lot of traffic, in routes, an so on.

E) Be a good example for your son / daughter

Always use the seat belt and drive in a safe way. Remember that contradictory messages can work as a boomerang. For example, you won’t be able to tell him / her to slow down if you don’t do it, or buy devices to avoid radars. Your example is worth more than a thousand words.

These suggestions are also valid when you decide to authorize your children to ride a motorcycle or moped which are much more dangerous than a car, although many parents are reluctant to believe it.