Teaching Your Teen to Be a Good Driver

Teen drivers have the highest injury and fatality rates of any age group. If you're the parent of a young driver, you can help protect your teenager by learning about the problem and taking steps to decrease your teenager’s risk of sustaining an injury or dying in a car crash. 

According to the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) young drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 years of age have the highest rates of motor vehicle collisions (MVC). In 2013, this age group represented 21% of all MVC on Quebec roads.

Teens face an increased risk of car collisions for many reasons, including:

Teens face an increased risk of car collisions for many reasons, including:

  • Lack of experience and judgment.
  • Overestimating their driving abilities. 
  • Speeding and driving too fast for traffic and weather conditions. 
  • Drinking and driving. 
  • Not wearing a seat belt. 
  • Inattention, often caused by other young people in the car.
  • Night driving.
  • Fatigue
Teens should follow these recommendations when driving a car:

Teens should follow these recommendations when driving a car:

  • Buckle upWear a seat belt at all times. 30% of drivers who die in a MVC on Quebec roads were not wearing a seat belt (SAAQ, 2015).
  • A zero-tolerance rule about drinking and driving.  
  • Don't let a teen drive while using a cell phone, eating or playing loud music.
  • Give your teenager lots of time to practice. Once your teenager has a learning permit, drive with the teenager often and in all possible driving conditions. 
  • Before setting out, plan the route and discuss it with your teen. Begin with 15- to 20-minute sessions and gradually increase the time to an hour. Give positive feedback. Give specific instructions. 
  • Set a curfew time for night driving. More than 60 percent of teen motor-vehicle deaths occur between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Parents, be good drivers yourselves. Teens learn to drive from their parents, be sure you're teaching them good technical driving skills, respect for other drivers and good judgment.
  • Have your teen pay for some or all of the insurance, car payment, gas and maintenance. Teens who contribute are more likely to drive responsibly.
  • Choose your teen's car with care. Avoid sports cars with performance images; and small or older cars that offer little crash protection. Instead, look for a midsized or full-sized vehicle with a sedate image and a smaller motor.
  • ResponsibilityKnow your teen. Make sure he/she is responsible on the road.
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Reviewed by Trauma specialists at the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Last updated: July 2013, January 2016

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