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Will your teen drive on the family's summer road trip?

Colorado families often plan summer road trips to beaches or to visit family or friends. But driving for hours on end can be very tedious. If you have a teenager with a newly minted driver's license, they may be chomping at the bit to get some highway miles under their belt and offer to trade driving duties with you.

This is actually a good move, for the most part. It allows parents to see first-hand how well their teenagers handle the responsibility of driving and it hones the teens' skills for the day when they will take off alone on their own road trips without the family in tow. But it still fills many parents' hearts with trepidation to cede control.

Loosen the reins anyway

Your teen must get experience with highway driving in one way or another, and most parents prefer that it be with them riding shotgun and closely observing their teens behind the wheel. This is especially important if your teenager is heading away for college and will be making long drives to and from school on college breaks.

Be aware of the dangers

One personal injury attorney from New Jersey concedes that young and inexperienced teen drivers have much higher risks of getting into serious accidents. But realistically speaking, there is only one way for a teen to get experience behind the wheel — driving.

As we previously noted, the summer months are a time of enhanced danger for teenage drivers. If you plan on turning over some of your summer road trip driving duties to your son or daughter, make sure that they only drive during daylight hours when it's not raining.

Make a safer driving experience for your teens

Below are some additional suggestions for making your teen's learning experience behind the wheel as safe as possible.

  • Reduce distractions inside the car. Turn down the tunes and keep the younger siblings quiet with tablets and ear buds.
  • Choose stretches of highway with no road construction zones. Highway work zones and crews pose additional hazards for inexperienced drivers.
  • Be your teen's navigator. Don't expect your teen to negotiate driving and map-reading or to rely on a hand-held directional aid.
  • Don't fall asleep. Remain awake and vigilant about the driving conditions when your teen is behind the wheel on family vacations.
  • Be clear about the rules and your expectations. Before turning over the keys, make sure that your teen fully understands the responsibility they have to abide by all the rules of the road.

Accidents happen

If your teen driver is involved in an auto accident with another at-fault driver, you will need to take steps to preserve their right to seek compensation for any injuries or other damages.

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