If your teen is taking behind-the-wheel driver’s education classes this summer, they’ll likely be expecting you to help them get some extra practice. The thought of being in the passenger seat while your teen drives may bring back not-so-pleasant memories of those rides you took with your own parents beside you nervously stepping on an imaginary brake and occasionally grabbing the wheel decades ago. However, parents play a crucial role in helping teens become responsible drivers.

Teaching your teen to avoid distractions may be challenging if your kids have grown up seeing you texting and driving. Even if you’ve been guilty of distracted driving in the past, it’s never too late to begin modeling good driving behavior.

This is true when it comes to all aspects of driving. In fact, here in Connecticut, parents must take a class that helps them refresh their own driving skills and understand their responsibilities while supervising their teen driver.

Your teen should be learning everything they need to know in their driver’s ed classes. However, it’s up to you as a parent to make sure that they have the confidence to handle any situation they may encounter on the road and that the good safety habits they’re learning are becoming second nature to them.

One of the biggest problems for parents in these practice drives is impatience. Your child is likely anxious and unsure of themselves. Even mild critiques from their parents, while necessary, can be viewed as harsh criticisms.

That’s why it’s crucial to remain calm. It’s essential to focus solely on your teen’s driving. Don’t let residual anger from their failure to load the dishwasher or walk the dog impact your feedback on their driving.

The statistics for teen drivers can frighten any parent. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, fatal crashes are almost three times as high for teens 16 and 17 as for adults from 30 to 59. Not all of these crashes are the teens’ fault. Sometimes, they simply aren’t as prepared to react to a reckless or negligent driver or a road hazard as more experienced drivers are.

If your teen is injured in a crash caused by another driver, it’s important to seek the compensation you need to get them the medical treatment, physical therapy and other care they need. It may be wise to seek legal guidance to help you do that.