Many parents worry about the risks teens face as a new driver, but how can they both be a good passenger and manage the passengers in their car? Parents play a crucial role in teen driver safety. Teens that have parents that set rules and pay attention to their activities in a supportive way are half as likely to crash. Most teens don't consider themselves to be inexperienced drivers and don't view passengers as potentially hazardous.

Teen passengers can lower this risk by limiting distractions, respecting the driver and always wearing a seat belt. Here are quick tips for teaching your teens to be safety-minded:

  1. Talk about how to be a safe passenger. Distractions are a major cause of crashes and passenger distractions are particularly dangerous for new drivers. Discuss helpful passenger behaviors, such as reading directions for the driver, respecting the driver by not talking loudly, playing loud music or acting wild.
  2. Insist on seat belts. Most adolescent passengers who die in wrecks are not wearing seat belts. Explain that by buckling up, they'll help protect their friends' lives as well as their own. In a crash, an unrestrained body can hurt others in the car.
  3. Don't let your teen ride with a driver who has less than a year of experience. Most teen crashes are a result of rookie mistakes. Even the most mature teen needs time to gain driving experienced through adult-supervised driving.
  4. Pay attention. To help them make good safety decisions, keep the lines of communication open. Know where they are going and why and discuss how they will bet there and when they will be home. Provide alternatives, like rides, to allow them to avoid unsafe driving situations.
  5. Create a code word. Help teens get out of unsafe situations by calling or texting you with a previously agreed-upon code word that signals trouble. When you hear or see this word, pick them up right away.
  6. Lead by example. Always wear a seatbelt. Don't talk on the phone while driving. Don't speed. Follow the rules of the road.