Visit our foundation to give a gift.
View Locations Near Me
Main Campus – Hartford
Connecticut Children’s – Waterbury
Urgent Care – Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Danbury
Connecticut Children’s Surgery Center at Farmington
Specialty Care Center – Fairfield
Search All Locations
Find a doctor
Find A Doctor
Request an Appointment
Amenities and Services
Who’s Who on Care Team
Getting Ready for Surgery
What to Expect—Picture Stories
Pay a Bill
Understanding the Different Fees
Pricing Transparency and Estimates
Raytheon Technologies Family Resource Center
Family Advisory Council
Legal Advocacy: Benefits, Education, Housing
Electronic Health Records
Share Your Story
Pay a Bill
Login to MyChart
Clinical Support Services Referrals
About the Network
Join the Network
Graduate Medical Education
Continuing Medical Education
MOC/Practice Quality Improvement
Educating Practices in the Community (EPIC)
Learning & Performance
Meet our Physician Relations Team
Request Medical Records
Join our Referring Provider Advisory Board
View our Physician Callback Standards
Read & Subscribe to Medical News
Register for Email Updates
Update Your Practice Information
Refer a Patient
Find and Print Health Info
Health Information For Parents
When your teen gets a driver’s license, it’s important to set some rules of the road beyond the relevant driving laws. By clearly defining your expectations before you hand over the car keys, you’ll reduce the risk of frustrating conflicts, costly crashes, and other problems. What’s more, you’ll feel more confident about your teen’s safety.
Set rules to cover a range of factors, such as seatbelts, passengers, curfews, and dealing with distractions like cellphones. Try to involve your teen in the process of creating the rules and consequences.
Topics to consider include:
Ban multitasking behind the wheel, whether it’s text messaging, making phone calls, or operating a GPS or MP3 player. Give your teen alternatives to these bad habits, like pulling into a parking lot to answer and make calls and plotting directions before leaving for an unfamiliar place. And be sure to set a good example in the way you handle distractions while driving.
Many states restrict the number or ages of passengers that teens can have when they first get their license. Learn the rules in your state and consider adding others based on your child’s driving experience, temperament, and the driving situations likely to occur.
You might want to start by not letting your teen drive with friends, then loosening the restriction as your teen gains experience and comfort. But remember: the more teen passengers in the car, the greater the crash risk.
Ease teens into driving after dark. While many states’ provisional licenses don’t require teens to be home until midnight, you might want to set an earlier curfew, then extend it as you see fit. Driving at night is riskier than daytime driving for all drivers, and even more dangerous for new drivers.
Make sure that your teen driver understands the consequences of speeding — how it can lead to potentially deadly crashes, costly tickets, demerit points associated with tickets, and revoked driving privileges. Consider making your young driver responsible for paying speeding tickets and any insurance rate hikes they cause.
Studies show that teens are the least likely age group to wear safety belts, so it’s important to stress the importance of wearing them. Make buckling up a rule for your teen and all passengers. Nearly every state fines drivers and passengers for not wearing seatbelts, sometimes as much as $200!
Teens should understand that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol — or getting in the car with someone who is — can be a fatal mistake. Encourage teens to call you for a ride — regardless of the time or whether they’re somewhere off-limits — and promise to withhold punishment and questions.
Consider making driving a privilege based on whether your teen keeps good grades or meets other responsibilities, like doing chores.
Teach your teen basic car maintenance that will keep the car safe and prevent breakdowns, such as:
Review tasks like reading a tire gauge and checking oil — first demonstrating, then supervising as your teen does it. Keep a notebook in the glove compartment to keep track of when oils, fluids, and air pressure are checked.
Set ground rules with your teen about which conditions are OK to drive in and which aren’t. Explain that if he or she is driving and a strong storm starts, it makes sense to pull off the roadway and wait it out — even if curfew is compromised because of bad weather, safety always comes first.
Consider putting the rules in writing by creating a Driver Agreement that clearly states the rules and the consequences for not following them. This eliminates gray areas and stresses that you take the rules seriously and your teen should too. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement on their Keys2Drive teen driving website. You can use theirs or make your own.
And from time to time, get in the passenger seat while your teen drives. This will give you a sense of how comfortable he or she is behind the wheel — and how comfortable you are handing over the keys. Creating rules for the road now can help build a foundation for safe driving that your teen will have forever.
You’ve heard the warnings about texting and driving, but it’s also risky to text and walk. Read our tips for safe texting.
Use these tips to teach your kids how to stay safe when riding in a car or on a school bus.
Factors beyond your control may affect driving conditions: rain, wind, snow, ice, bright sun, fog, and hail, just to name a few. So what should you do if you find yourself driving in bad weather?
You have joined the millions of new drivers already behind the wheel. Here are a few tips to keep you both sane and safe.
Congestion, nighttime, and construction zone driving are tricky driving conditions. Here are tips for teen drivers on handling these situations.
These defensive driving skills can help you avoid the dangers caused by other people’s bad driving.
If a texting driver is making you nervous but you’re not sure how to bring the topic up, here are some ideas.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2020 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved.
Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.