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How can I get my 16 year old son to drive more slowly?

I am teaching my 16 year old son to drive. I am nearly constantly telling him to slow down. I am frightened when he drives alone he will drive way too fast. How can I get him to slow down, especially when I am not in the car?


  • edited July 2013

    There are electronic devices that you can buy that will essentially monitor the car's speed and the force of braking. These devices keep a record of driving behavior, and can be checked after he drives, in order to find out how he operated the car.

    Tell your son that these are the terms, without compromise:

    >If he disconnects the device, he will lose his driving privileges for 30 days.
    >If the device indicates that he has been speeding and/or doing very heavy braking, he will lose his driving privileges for 30 days.
    >If he is found to be driving recklessly a second time, he will lose his driving privileges for 60 days.

    As a retired school counselor, I can tell you that getting the desired behavior from an adolescent involves finding the correct leverage point. With a 16 year old, one of the two strongest leverage points is loss of driving privileges.

    Good luck!

  • Just curious, what kind of vehicle is he driving right now?

    You need to tell him to scan the gauges every 10 seconds, monitor speed and whatnot. How fast is he going over the limit?

    Around here if you are not doing at LEAST 5mph over the limit people are on your rear. It gets old, The speed limit is there for a reason.
  • edited July 2013
    If he has to work to pay for the full price of the car, the gas, insurance, and repairs, you can be certain he'll drive much more carefully than he is now.

    I'm not a believer in any vehicle devices that try to control behavior. You may win the battle in the short term, but will lose in the long run. Is that the trust approach you want to be developing?
  • How fast is he driving compared to the prevailing speed of traffic? If the speed limit is say 55 MPH but 90% of the traffic is going 75, then he's actually much safer keeping up with traffic than he would be driving at 55.
  • If this is a matter of speed being a real issue (say 50 in a 30 in town, etc) then my vote is with VDCdriver; restrict the driving.
    There's not only the safety issue but the potential for lawsuits, liens, bankruptcy, or even criminal charges if someone is injured or dies because of the son's driving habits.

    I went through this same wrestling match with my daughter when she first learned to drive and it was doubly tough because I knew she was speeding and my wife kept insisting she was not and that if she was speeding "it's because the speedometer is off". Defending the indefensible.....
  • Replace his car with a bicycle.
  • edited July 2013

    I don't want to make the OP any more neurotic regarding his son's driving than he already is, but I feel that I have to point out that there is actually something that is statistically far more dangerous than speeding, and that is texting while driving.

    While all adolescents believe that they are indestructible and that no bad consequences will ever befall them, perhaps the image of this young man from my county--dressed in a prison jump suit during his sentencing to 5 years in the NJ State Penitentiary for vehicular homicide--might have a deterrent effect on your son:

    Tell your son that you will be checking his cell phone when he comes back from driving, in order to determine if there were any texts or phone conversations that took place while he was driving. If you find that he was--as my friend, Judge Reed says--"driving blind", then you have to protect him (and other people on the road) from injury, and protect your assets by taking strong disciplinary action in order to make him change his ways. And, with someone of this age, the only strong disciplinary action that is likely to work is to restrict his driving privileges in the event of violating your rules.

  • edited July 2013
    George, ''more input'' please.
    You want him to drive more relation to what ?
    The posted limit ?
    The other traffic ?
    Your opinion ?
    Let's put it in perspective. Just how slow is he NOT driving ?
    Do you want him to be the slowest vehicle in the line, sandbagging the flow ?
    Do you want him to co-ordinate and flow smoothly with the others ?
    Is he now passing eveyone else and changing lanes back and forth ?
    Is he racing toward a red light only to brake at the last hundred feet ?

    Make it a vehicle use ultimatum.
    Operating the machine is one thing.
    DRIVING is another can of beans.
  • VDC has given you excellent suggestions. The only thing I'd add is to put the "contract" inwriting and have him sign it. That should impress upon him that you're serious. And be sure you let him know that you love him, but you WILL enforce the terms of the contract.

  • Thank you, mountainbike, for both the compliment and the addition of the importance of a behavioral contract. I guess that my age is catching up with me, since I failed to mention the importance of a behavioral contract, which I always used to stress with parents who had kids with behavioral issues.

    OP--Putting your expectations in writing, and stating exactly which privileges your son has--as well what will result from violating your rules--will make for much more permanence than any mere chat with him.

    And, as I always recommended to parents, after you both sign it, make sure that it is posted on the door of the refrigerator. That will be a reminder every time that he opens the door in order to get a snack or a drink. This will make your behavioral contract something that is more tangible than a piece of paper that is not visible. You know...out of sight, out of mind.

    And, as mountainbike, stated, if you threaten a certain penalty, you have to follow through with it in the event of a problem with your son's compliance with that contract. One failure to follow through terms of his respecting the limits that you are placing on him.
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