Teens feel like they’re invincible, which is why they’re more likely than other age groups to engage in risky driving behavior. They are also most likely to get into car accidents. As a parent, you do the best you can to instill safe driving habits in your teens. However, you can’t force them to drive safely when you’re not with them. Or can you? There’s actually more you can do than you might imagine. Here are four ways to make sure your teen is driving safely.

1. Make Sure They Only Drive in Mid-Sized Cars

Image via Flickr by State Farm

Image via Flickr by State Farm

You can control the type of car your teen drives, and mid-sized cars are the safest. These cars are small enough to allow your teen to maneuver around easily (such as out of potential accident sites), while also being large enough to protect them if they do crash. Look for mid-sized cars with anti-lock brakes, small engines, and as many safety features as possible.

2. Do Not Allow Your Teen to Drive at Night

Some states, by law, do not allow teens under 17 to drive alone at night, and those teens must have a licensed driver over the age of 21 with them if they are driving after dark. If your state does not have such a law, you can implement one for your teen.

Most crashes involving teens happen at night. Accidents with no injuries are more likely to occur before midnight; accidents with fatalities are more likely to occur after midnight and before sunup. Reasons behind these nighttime teen crashes are usually fatigue and inexperience.

3. Limit the Number of Passengers You Allow Them to Carry

Do not let your teen leave the house with more than one or two passengers. One is actually preferable. Studies have shown that passengers in the car among teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 (the newest and most inexperienced drivers) are just as distracting as using phones or texting while driving. Keep them safe by keeping their passengers to a minimum until they are fully licensed and you are comfortable with their level of driving experience and display of driving responsibility.

4. Use an App to Keep Track of What They’re Doing

Two things you definitely don’t want your teens doing while they are driving is texting and using their phones. These are the two surest paths to accidents, even for adult drivers. However, teens are so attached to their phones, how can you keep them from using them behind the wheel if you’re not there? Use an app. Most mobile phone companies offer apps that automatically shut off phones when a car is in motion. Others, like the DriveMode app by AT&T, will even alert parents if the shutoff feature has been disabled (teens are very clever about technology).

The bottom line is that there are things you can do to protect your teen while he or she is driving. Make rules and ensure your teen sticks to them. Monitor them with apps, if you must. The best way to safe driving for teens is experience, and that will come with time.