Getting a driver’s license is an exciting rite of passage for teenagers in Pennsylvania and across the country. However, teen drivers are at a higher risk for being involved in car accidents due to their inexperience on the road, with teen driver accidents up 11% in 2021. Here are some tips for keeping your teen driver safe in Pennsylvania.
Understand Graduated Driver Licensing Laws
Pennsylvania has a graduated driver licensing (GDL) system that phases in driving privileges for teen drivers over time. Some key components include:
- Learner’s permit – Teens must be 16 to obtain a learner’s permit and must complete 65 hours of supervised driving, including 15 hours at night and in inclement weather.
- Junior license – At 16.5 years old, teens can get a junior license after passing a road test. This comes with restrictions like limiting passengers and night driving.
- Full license – Teens can get a full license at 17 that lifts junior license restrictions.
Following GDL laws helps teens get experience under supervision. Be sure you and your teen understand the laws.
Emphasize Safe Driving Habits
Take the time to instill safe habits in your teen. Key tips include:
- No cell phone use – Ban all phone use, including hands-free options, to avoid dangerous distractions.
- Limit passengers – Risk goes up with multiple teen passengers. Set rules for the number of passengers allowed.
- Obey speed limits – Speeding is a major risk factor. Monitor your teen’s speed with feedback.
- No impairment – Stress no drugs or alcohol which impair judgment. Establish zero-tolerance rules.
- Seat belt safety – Require seat belt use for all occupants to prevent injuries. Lead by example.
Get Plenty of Practice
Practice as much as possible with your teen in various conditions to build skill. Have them practice:
- Starting and stopping – Focus on smooth acceleration and braking.
- Backing up – Master backing up and changing directions.
- Navigation – Drive to unfamiliar places to improve direction skills.
- Parking – Practice different parking situations like parallel parking.
- Bad weather – Gain experience driving in rain, snow and fog.
Consider Advanced Driver Training
Look into advanced driver training programs offered by organizations like AAA and local driver schools. These help teens learn defensive driving techniques and hazard avoidance to make them better prepared drivers.
Set Clear Rules and Limits
Have set guidelines, boundaries and consequences for breaking rules. Be clear on restrictions for things like:
- Night driving
- High risk conditions like snow or heavy rain
- Borrowing the car
Discuss rules and be prepared to enforce them. Ease limits over time as your teen builds skills and maturity.
With teen drivers more at risk due to inexperience, keeping them safe is a priority. Following driver education, licensing laws, and providing practice and experience will help your teen stay safe on Pennsylvania roads. Be actively involved and lead by example with your own driving to instill smart habits.
If your teen has been involved in an accident, contact our experienced lawyers. We have offices in 32 locations across 19 states including Pennsylvania, Nebraska, and Florida. Call now for a free consultation on (888) 477-0597.