April 4, 2017

These teen driving safety tips can help young drivers and everyone around them stay safer.


If you’re the parent of a new driver, chances are you’re experiencing a new level of nervousness.

What can you do to help your teen driver, and those on the road around them, stay safe? Teach them these driving safety tips:

1. Don’t drive tired.

Drowsy driving is dangerous. Are you a teen who likes to play video games, text friends, surf the web or watch movies till the wee hours of the morning? When school is in session you have to wake up earlier, so remember to go to bed early. Unplug from all your devices at least an hour before bedtime to relax and fall asleep more quickly. Be aware of your level of fatigue. Driving while you’re tired can decrease your reaction time, impair your vision or judgment, and increase your chances of an accident. If you’re too tired to drive, don’t. Call a parent or friend to pick you up.

2. Follow the 10-minute rule.

Running late can cause you to drive faster and less cautiously than you should. Get in the habit of leaving 10 minutes early and avoid the need to speed.

3. Buckle seat belts for everyone in the vehicle.

Make sure all passengers have fastened safety belts before putting the vehicle into drive. Doing this one simple thing could save a life.

4. Limit passengers for teen drivers.

Studies show that teens with passengers are more likely to take risks and be distracted. The more passengers in a vehicle, the higher the fatal crash risk — in fact, the risk doubles with each additional passenger.

5. Turn off the phone.

Do not text or talk on your cellphone while driving. Turn your phone off and put it out of reach. Call or text your parents before leaving school to let them know you will not be answering calls while driving and that you will text when you reach your destination.

6. Driving around schools.

Observe the speed limits around schools. Check posted limits and flashing signs during school hours. Obey school safety patrols and crossing guards’ directions. In addition, many fender-benders happen in the school parking lot. Decrease your risk by coming early or leaving late, when there is less traffic. Practice your skills at backing up and “reverse parking,” backing into a space so that you can pull forward when you leave.

7. Prepare for bad weather.

Extreme weather can be more dangerous for a young driver due to inexperience handling the car in those conditions. Teach your child how to confidently handle weather challenges. Consider sending your teen to a driving school to learn car control techniques in a safe environment, preparing them to manage a skid or hydroplaning incident before they are faced with such challenges alone.


Every year, April is set aside to highlight the dangers of distracted driving. National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a great time to review some tips for your young driver. If you would like more information on what Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital is doing to educate teens, parents, and communities about distracted driving, please click here.


This post was written by Purnima Unni and Emily Riley, who work with Pediatric Trauma Injury Prevention at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt