Teen drivers are the nightmare that every parent wishes they could wake up from. You want your child to gain independence, and you want to trust him to take on the hefty responsibility that comes with a license, but it can be difficult, especially if you remember what you were like as a teenage driver. However, modern technology is on your side (too bad it wasn’t there for your own parents). If you’re looking for ways to ensure the safety of your teen when he’s behind the wheel of a car, there are plenty of gadgets and programs out there to help you. Here are just a few to consider.
One of the major concerns these days has to do with cell phones. Luckily, both laws and safety mechanisms have caught up pretty quickly. Bluetooth is a must, with more and more states enacting hands-free laws, and you can get it embedded in your car or simply provide a headset for your teen. Of course, there are also systems that include talk-to-text options that allow drivers to receive and answer texts and emails (or even post updates to Facebook and Twitter) without any hands at all. Controls on the steering column are also a bonus, since your teen will never have to lean over to change the volume or shuffle through an iPod.
Your teen may become flustered if he gets lost, so having in-dash navigation will ensure that he always knows where he’s going and help to prevent a fender bender because he was busy looking at street signs rather than paying attention to the traffic in front of him.
There are a couple of ways to keep tabs on your teen driver that don’t require you to put a nanny cam in the car. Hyundai’s Blue Link system allows you to set specifications about where the car may go (in a given geographic area), how late it can be used (curfew), and the maximum speed allowed. If any of these restrictions are broken, you will receive a call or text message to alert you to your teen’s bad behavior. You can also get the Driver Feedback app for the iPhone (offered by State Farm) that will track your teen’s speed, braking, and cornering via accelerometer to give you a comprehensive look at driving habits. If your teen won’t go for having this app on his phone, take away the keys until he complies!
If you want to go a step further, Ford has your back. Their MyKey system lets you program a key for your teen that locks in a set maximum speed for the car (and volume level for the stereo) so that you can keep your kid off the highway, make sure he doesn’t speed around town, and derail distraction from a blaring bass beat. In addition, you can have the car issue warnings when certain speeds are reached.
The one thing you absolutely can’t allow is drinking and driving, which can not only hurt your teen, but everyone else on the road, as well. To avoid DUIs and other disasters, install a breathalyzer interlock system. Your teen will have to blow into it each time he tries to start the car. If his blood alcohol content (BAC) is too high, he’s not going anywhere.
About the author
Carol Montrose is a writer for Cheap Car Insurance NY, where you can find great rates on car insurance. In her spare time she likes to attend writing classes at CSUN, go hiking on the weekends, and help with an animal rescue out of Los Angeles, California.