What Every Parent with a Teen Driver Should Know

It all happens so fast; one minute, you’re changing diapers, and the next thing you know, your little one is all grown up. Suddenly, they’ve swapped plastic teething keys for the real, metallic set. That 16th birthday can bring about one of the most terrifying things any parent has to go through — teaching their child to drive and letting them hit the open road on their own.

We all know the dangers of driving. Whether it’s drunk drivers, distracted drivers (which statistics show cause more accidents than drunk drivers), weather, or wildlife, there are a lot of threats out there that could turn a leisurely drive into a trip to the hospital.

Nothing is more important than the safety of your family. That’s why it’s so important to know what resources are out there to protect the new drivers in your life. Luckily, there are tons of resources and technology for teen drivers that can improve safety and give you some peace of mind.

What is Teen Driver Technology?

Technology for teen drivers — or as it should be known: technology for parents with teen drivers — is focused on preventing the known behaviors that cause teens to drive dangerously. Many car manufacturers offer this feature to help ensure teen drivers are safely operating their vehicles, and to give their parents peace of mind.

They provide a variety of features that eliminate distracted driving and give parents insight to their kids’ driving habits. These can range from backup cameras and GPS systems to automatic speed alerts and even driver report cards that can give you some insight as to how well your teen is driving.

What Features Are Included?

Manufacturers looked into the behaviors that cause dangerous driving habits in teens, and found that the most common habits are speeding, not fastening seat belts, listening to loud music, and texting while driving. The Teen Driver features included on vehicles with this function are centered around eliminating these behaviors. Features include:

  • Volume Muting: an automatic limit to the volume of music your teen driver can listen to in order to prevent distracted driving.
  • Speed Warning: this system automatically notifies drivers when they are going over the speed limit. Some models may even force a slowdown when speeding is taking place.
  • Active Safety features that are automatically turned on (and cannot be turned off)   such as:
    – Anti Lock brakes
    – Traction control
    – Stability control
    – Daytime running lights
    – Automatic headlight control
    – Parking sensors
    – Forward-collision warning
    – Forward-pedestrian and automatic emergency braking
    – Lane-departure warning
    – Lane-keeping assistance
    – Blind-spot warning
    – Rear cross-traffic warning
  • Driver Report Cards: a quick report card that gives parents insight as to how their kids are driving. No more simply “taking their word for it.”
  • Seat Belt Reminder: not only will teen drivers be alerted to when anyone, passengers or drivers, are not wearing a seat belt — it will keep the car in park until all occupants are wearing a seat belt.
  • Backup Cameras: these are helpful for any driver, but are especially useful if your teen is just learning how to parallel park. Those parking lot fender benders may not be life-threatening, but they can still cause tons of stress and are best avoided.

What Other Tech Can I Add to My Teen Driver’s Vehicle?

If you want to add further levels of protection, or are not able to get a model of vehicle that includes Teen Driver technology, there are a number of options you can add to your child’s vehicle to keep them safe.

GPS: a hands-free GPS system will eliminate the need for your teen driver to use their phone to navigate, cutting down on distracted driving.
Radar Detector: not only does this piece of technology alert drivers to when police are in the area, it also monitors the driver’s speed. Parents can set a maximum speed limit for the vehicle, and a loud sound will play if the driver exceeds that limit.
Cell Phone Signal Booster: the last thing anyone wants is to be stuck on the side of the road with no cell service. A booster will help your teen reach out to you when they might otherwise be unable to.

The Bottom Line

The truth is, driving is always going to be a risk. But, it’s also an opportunity for your child to expand their horizons and gain a sense of autonomy and freedom. Rather than restricting your teen, Teen Driver technology serves as a learning tool that can keep an eye on them — even while you can’t.

Not only that, but your teen is likely just as nervous about driving as you are. No, really! It’s a scary experience, and having the right tech can help ease stress and reinforce good habits that will stick with them for years to come.