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When your teenager first gets their driver’s license, it can be an exciting time for everyone in the household. Your child may be celebrating their new-found independence. At the same time, you may breathe a sigh of relief that you no longer have to drive them to soccer practice and piano lessons.

However, when you decide to hand over your car keys to your teen, it’s important to prepare them to handle different driving scenarios safely. As the school year begins, it’s a good opportunity to remind your teenage driver of special safety precautions when driving to school.

  • School bus protocol:Make sure your child understands the driving rules around school buses. Teach them to stop 10 feet behind any school bus bus that has flashing red lights or an extended stop sign. This indicates that a child may be boarding or exiting the bus—and could be crossing the street in front of the bus. Therefore, driving past a stopped school bus is extremely dangerous—and illegal.
  • School zone: Ensure that your child pays attention to changing speed limits. In school zones, the speed limit usually drops to 15 mph. It is very important that your teen slows down and stays alert in school zones—as children could run out into the street.
  • Passengers: According to the Centers for Disease Control, one of the leading causes of accidents for teenagers is driving with teenage passengers. The more teen passengers in the car, the higher the risk of an accident. You may want to put limits on when and how many teenage friends can ride with your child.

Becoming a licensed driver is a big step in many teenagers’ lives. However, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. Taking the time to teach them responsible driving habits can make a world of difference in their lives.