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How to teach and talk to your child about safe driving

Do you have a new driver in your family? Are you concerned about your children taking to the road on their own?

It's not always easy to do, but it's your responsibility to talk to your child about safe driving. By taking the right approach, you'll feel much better the first time your child gets behind the wheel without you.

Review the vehicle

Before you do anything else, you should review the features of the vehicle with your child. Here are some of the many areas to touch on:

  • Dashboard controls
  • Braking system
  • Turn signals
  • Headlights
  • Seat belts
  • Airbags
  • Emergency lights
  • Warning indicator lights

If your children don't understand how theirs vehicles work, you can't expect them to remain safe.

Practice the following

The more time your teenagers spend on the road, the more comfortable they'll feel behind the wheel. Some of the many things you should practice with them early on include:

  • Turns at varying levels of speed
  • Smooth and timely braking
  • Changing lanes
  • Determining the right of way
  • Sharing the road with pedestrians
  • Using turning lanes
  • Safe following distance

Important questions to answer

As you continue to teach and talk to your child about safe driving, here are some questions to answer:

  • Has your child had enough practice to be confident tackling any situation that comes about?
  • Does your child have the ability to quickly react to hazards and other less than ideal situations?
  • Is your child good about following the rules of the road?
  • Does your child have the tendency to become distracted while driving?
  • Are you concerned that your child drives too aggressively?
  • Will your child know how to pull over and cool down if he or she faces a difficult situation?
  • Does your child know how to deal with distractions, both inside and outside the vehicle?

Once you answer these questions, you'll have a better idea of whether now's the time for your child to spend more time on the road alone.

If your child is part of an accident, perhaps one in which he or she suffers an injury, you should collect as much information as possible. In addition to contacting your insurance company, don't hesitate to ask your child what went wrong. This will help you decide who was at fault and how to move forward.

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John McCabe wrote "The Investigation and Analysis of Personal Injury Cases" in the best-selling book Personal Injury Practice in North Carolina. This is the book that other lawyers follow in handling personal injury cases.

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