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As a parent, teaching a teen how to drive can be tricky — maybe it feels like they’re never listening to you?

Here’s some surprising news: they are listening, and more importantly, watching everything you do on the road. Research demonstrates that a parent’s choices behind the wheel are one of the largest influencers on their teen’s driving skill.

While “Do as I say, not as I do,” is certainly tempting, there are far more effective ways to coach your young driver. Here are three tips to help you get your teen on the road, safe and secure.

Check your driving behaviour

There are probably a few… not-so-perfect habits that have formed since you got your licence. To make sure you’re actually modelling great behaviours, take a drive. How do you change lanes, take a turn, or park on a busy street? You might notice that you’ve failed to signal a couple of times, done some rolling stops, or checked your phone at a light.

Want to take it up a notch? Ask your teen about your habits– as new students of the road, they are eager to showcase what they know. Parents tend to underestimate their distracted behaviours, even though this negatively impacts the behaviours of their teens, researchers share. Asking your teen can be humbling, but opens the door to bigger discussions about how you can both be safer on the roads.

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Brush up on the basics

Chances are, a couple things have changed since you got your licence; this may be evident after checking in on your own driving behaviours! To be the best driving coach for your teen, refresh the rules of the road. Check out Onlia’s Safe + Sound for tips, as well as provincial guides (like Ontario’s MTO Driver’s Handbook), for current driver training information.

Legislation is updated constantly, particularly as technology evolves the transportation industry. Stay on top of changes, and how they impact your young driver.

Create household "rules of the road"

With a new driver in the household, it is a great time to create ground rules. Experts suggest revisiting expectations around curfew and partying – relaxed rules have been tied to negative impacts on teen driving behaviour. Consistency is key – as a parent, keep up your best driving behaviour, as studies have shown that parental behaviour impacts teen driving for up to one year after getting licensed. Finally, use technology to reward great behaviour. The Onlia Insurance™ App celebrates good driving habits, connecting users to amazing perks for being a safe driver – something always worth celebrating!

Getting a licence is a huge life milestone. Whether you believe it or not, parents are a critical part of their teen’s driving education. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be the best influence on their newfound freedom, setting them up for a lifetime of safe driving.

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