Researchers urge parents to make the most of driving time with teens
Posted August 28
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The state of North Carolina gives parents a year to supervise their teens before they get full licenses. A new study from The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center shows parents could do more to make the most of that time.
Researcher Arthur Goodwin says parents need to make sure their teens are doing more than just driving to school and back.
“(Get) practice in rain, nighttime, interstate, rural roads – a wide variety of different settings,” he said.
Goodwin says many parents make simple commands to stop or slow down, but they don't teach good driving skills.
“Instead of just saying, ‘Slow down,’ when the teen isn't braking early enough, they need to take the next step to explain when they need to slow down,” he said.
Parent Beth Mueller says she's doing that with her daughter, Caroline. She recently took her daughter to the parking lot at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill to practice.
“At first, it's really scary (and) terrifying. As you get used to it, it's easier,” Caroline Mueller said.
“We're taking it slowly, because we have plenty of time,” her mother added. “As I was driving down the road and she's watching, I would constantly talk about what I was doing.”
The Highway Safety Research Center has developed an app called "Time to Drive" that makes it easy for parents to track the time they've spent driving with their teenager and the kinds of conditions they've experienced.