Teens on the Road: Common Mistakes Young Drivers Make

When you watch your teen drive off alone for the first time, a mix of emotions runs through you. You might feel happy you don’t have to act like a part-time chauffeur anymore, but how do you keep your teen safe when you’re not there?

The best way to prepare your teen for the road and help him or her avoid accidents is through correcting mistakes before your teen makes them. Young drivers make many of the same errors when they first get out on the road. Look over these common issues and discuss them with your teen before tragedy strikes.

Getting Distracted

These days, most teens don’t leave the house without a smartphone in hand. However, smartphones can quickly get out of hand when it comes to driving. Many car accidents result from distracted driving, and this can be especially problematic with teens who have ties to multiple social platforms, all of which want constant attention.

Educate your teen on the dangers of looking at a phone while driving. Issue a no tolerance policy for phone use in the car, and check your teen’s cell records if you suspect he or she has broken the rules.


When your teen finally has a whole car to control and no parents around to issue orders, speed limits seem more like suggestions. However, accident risks increase with speed.

Encourage your teen to slow down before the police ever have to issue a ticket

Having Too Many Passengers

Teens can get distracted by more than just phones. When your teen first starts driving, restrict who and how many people he or she can have in the car. Since your teen just learned to drive, the road requires too much attention for friends to take precedent.

Driving While Impaired

You’ve already told your teen to avoid underage drinking and dangerous situations. However, many teens still find themselves at parties gone wrong or other places alcohol can make an appearance. Discuss ahead of time your plan of action in these types of situations.


Similar to speeding, tailgating can be an easy habit for your teen to fall into. However, unlike speeding, police rarely issue tailgating tickets.

If you notice your teen driving too close to the vehicle in front while you’re in the car, immediately correct this behavior. Explain how much harder it is to stop in time when you drive too close to other cars. Also explain how rainy or snowy weather could quickly turn this bad habit into a deadly one.

Ignoring Seat Belts

For the first time ever, your teen won’t have you in the car to issue orders to buckle up. Although your teen won’t likely forget to put on a seat belt, he or she may choose not to.

Remind your teen that it’s against the law to drive without wearing a seat belt. Enforce the same strict standards with seat belt use as you do with cell phones.

Driving While Tired

Even if your teen never drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she will likely feel tired behind the wheel at some point. Unfortunately, driving while drowsy has many of the same dangers as driving while drunk. You need your teen to remain fully alert every time he or she goes out on the road.

Engaging in Risky Behavior

As you gain more driving experience, you develop a set of habits that help keep you safe on the road. When your teen first gets in the car, he or she doesn’t have these habits built in and can easily forget vital safety measures, including:

  • Checking blind spots
  • Using turn signals

Work with your teen to come up with a plan to remember these small but crucial behaviours and develop good driving habits.

Discounting the Weather

Since first-time drivers may not have had to drive in snowy, icy, or rainy conditions before, they don’t always know what to expect or how to handle their vehicles. Train your teen how to drive in bad weather before a storm ever comes.

Help your teen develop good habits and skills by enrolling them in a driver training course that will promote safety for life.

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