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Parent Information

For most teens, getting a driver's license is exciting and liberating. For their parents, however, it can be an anxiety-­filled time. Parents play a key role in preventing teen crashes. When asked whose opinions they listen to, teens most often cited their parents.

What can parents do?

Parents can help teens gain experience and become safe drivers through a variety of actions, including:

  • Lead by example

    • Examine your own driving. Are you a good example?

    • View each car ride as a teaching opportunity

    • Point out how to handle a driving situation and why

    • Explain the situation

  • Help teens get the practice they need

    • Spend as much time in the car with them as possible.

    • Let them drive short little jaunts that begin to build their confidence

    • Be sure that the driving conditions are varied

    • Gradually introduce more complex driving situations while still being protected

    • Be encouraging, no matter how white-­knuckled you really are

  • Know your GDL (Graduated Driver's License) Rules

    • All 50 states have graduated drivers licensing (GDL), which put restrictions on when and how teens can drive. Restrictions vary by state, but all are designed to keep new drivers safer.

    • GDLs limit driving at night and the number of passengers a teen driver can have in the first year of licensure

    • Check out our Basic Information tab for Wisconsin's GDL laws

  • Establish rules and expectations

    • Communicate not only the risks, but also expectations

    • Teens whose parents establish fair rules are at less risk for tickets and crashes

    • Work out  clear rules and expectations together

    • Reckless, irresponsible or dangerous behavior should have definite consequences

  • Sign a parent-teen driving agreement

    • The parent-­teen driving agreement is a document that outlines the parents' expectations for safe driving and the consequences of violating driving rules.

    • Encourages conversation about safe driving, and teen buy ­in.

    • Puts both the teen and the parent on the same page

    • The consequences of breaking the rules are on paper

    • The goal is safety, not control

  • Our Resources Page has a link to a sample (downloadable) Parent-Teen Driving Agreement