Learning to drive is a big step for teens and their parents. Preparing to hand over the keys to your teen doesn’t start at 16 – it starts years before. Parents can help set good driving examples to prepare their children to be safe drivers in the future, says Susan Helms, director of Injury Prevention and Safe Kids Mid-South.

How to set a good example for your future driver from our friends at Safe Kids USA

  • Talk to your kids about driver and passenger safety. We’ll make it easy for you. Check out our Countdown2drive program, which helps you put together a passenger agreement and guidelines for teens that are specially tailored to your family.

  • Kids are always watching, even when you think they’re not. So be a good example. Try to eliminate distractions by not using a cell phone or texting while driving. Teach your teen or preteen to read maps and help with finding locations.Make it a rule that kids younger than 13 ride like a VIP – in the back. This is the safest place for preteens and younger children to sit.

  • When carpooling, make sure you have enough seating positions and booster seats for every child in your car and that kids enter and exit curbside. Child no longer need booster seats when they can pass the following Safety Belt Fit Test:
    • The child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when his or her back and bottom are against the vehicle seat back;

    • The vehicle lap belt should fit across the upper thighs; and

    • The shoulder belt should fit across the shoulder and chest. Children are usually between 8 and 12 years old when the seat belt fits them properly.