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What parents of new drivers need to know

If you're the parent of a teen who's going to be taking driver's ed and getting their license this school year, you'll likely be spending some hours in the front passenger seat with them. They'll want and need plenty of behind-the-wheel practice before they take their road test.

It's probably been at least a couple of decades (and likely more) since you learned to drive. Even if you've been driving safely and managed to avoid an accident during these years, it's essential to realize that some things have changed since you took driver's ed.

When you were learning to drive, you may have kept the radio off and not played any CDs. Today, drivers need to keep all electronic devices off and preferably out of reach. Even if everything is hands-free, it's best to discourage your young driver from using anything that takes their mind and eyes off the road.

We've all been taught different guidelines for how far to stay behind the vehicle ahead of us. Today, the three-second rule is standard. From the time the car ahead passes a spot to the time you pass it should be at least three seconds.

Most of us learned to keep our hands at "10 and 2 o'clock" on the steering wheel. However, new drivers are now taught to keep their hands at 9 and 3 o'clock to allow room for airbag deployment.

Today's cars have a number of safety features that alert drivers to nearby vehicles and pedestrians. Teens who learn to drive in cars with all of this technology should be reminded not to let it take the place of looking around and behind them and being able to hear what's going on around them.

As a parent, you need to know what restrictions Illinois or Missouri Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws place on new teen drivers. Failure to abide by them can cost a teen their driving privileges. Make sure that your teen knows and abides by these laws.

A teen driver who focuses on safety and obeys the law will be less likely to be involved in a crash than one who isn't as careful. However, they may still not be able to react in time to the reckless or negligent actions of another driver. If they're injured by another driver, make sure you seek the compensation needed for medical care and other expenses and damages.

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David M. Duree and Associates, P.C.
312 South Lincoln Avenue
O'Fallon, IL 62269
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