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For a teenager, a driver’s license marks a gateway to freedom. For parents, it means the beginning of a new worry. Car crashes are the leading cause of teen fatalities—more teens die from car crashes each year than from homicide, suicide, cancer or drugs. That number spikes higher during the summer, which is the deadliest season for teens on the road.

Did You Know?

54% of teens say they wish their parents spent more time teaching them to drive.

Having a conversation about driving will help your teen more than worrying at home when they’re on the road. Parents are the No. 1 source of information for teens when it comes to learning how to drive. Encourage your child to be safer behind the wheel with these tips.

Download an App Apps to monitor your teen’s performance remotely are becoming more and more common. The Allstate Star Driver program, powered by the Drivewise® Mobile app, which helps your teen prove that he or she is a good driver (while letting you see their progress, so you can help or praise them along the way). It automatically detects when they’re driving, and keeps track of the time of day, how fast they’re going and where they’re headed. Download it here.

Support Graduated Driver Licensing Every state has adopted some form of “graduated driver licensing,” which gradually introduces teens to more complex driving skills as they mature and gain experience. Consider enhancing these with household rules that are tailored to your young driver. He or she should start driving in the safest conditions, then gradually earn the rights to drive at night, on the highway, with friends, and in bad weather. You can even sign an agreement to agree on the household driving rules.

Practice, Practice, Practice Just because your teen passes Driver’s Ed class doesn’t mean he’s ready for the road. Most courses offer only 6 to 10 hours behind the wheel, and inexperience is the leading cause of teen crashes. Next time it rains, use the opportunity to teach driving in inclement weather. Do it again in snow and fog, at dawn and dusk, and during rush hour traffic. Better for your teen to learn those lessons while you are there to help.

Inspect the Car Uncle Bob’s old Chevy may purr down the road, but are there dangers lurking underneath the hood? Teens often get the first car they or their families can afford, which doesn’t always mean the safest or most reliable model. Be sure the car passes state inspection before letting your teen get behind the wheel. Make sure that tires are inflated to the right pressure and that brake pads and lines are in top form, and don’t stand for a shaky transmission. Better yet, help them invest in a model that ranks high in safety.

STEERING TEEN DRIVERS RIGHT

For teens, parents are the No. 1 source of driving know-how. The Allstate Foundation has tools to help you get the message right. They include a parent coaching guide for first-time drivers, a video about Graduated Driver Licensing, and many other helpful tools. The next generation of drivers is in your hands.