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It is that time of year that may be quite stressful for many parents: Matric Vacation otherwise known as Matric Vac. Every year young drivers are some of the worst affected in the holiday season crash statistics. If your teen is joining their friends on Matric Vac, rather than sending them off and hoping they return, rather be proactive in ensuring this.

The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says young drivers are more vulnerable because of their inexperience and likelihood to indulge in behaviour that makes driving dangerous. “Your teen driver has likely been able to attend Vac as a result of the car you have provided. Before you hand the keys over, rather than only pleading with them to drive safely, consider entering into a parent-teen driving agreement with your teen driver.

“In this agreement, parents state what safe driving habits are expected which the teen agrees to in return for the car and driving privileges. This includes stating the consequences for not following the rules and regulations set out. Should they receive a fine for speeding or you check your telematics and see issues, then your teen knows there will be real consequences for not following the agreement.”

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Rather than becoming that nagging voice that your teen tunes out, a driving contract presents another way to properly emphasise the danger of reckless driving. “You clearly communicate what is expected of them upfront. If a teen is faced with the confiscation of their driving privileges when they return, it is likely they may think twice before driving irresponsibly.

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“If your teen is going to be the passenger in the car of another teen driver, you can still enter into a contract with them adapted to include consequences specific to them. This one should also include guidance about what to do should they feel uncomfortable with the driving of their friend. Take the time to urge them to never get into the car with someone who has been drinking or taking drugs.”

For more information on the parent-teen contract, email MasterDrive at info@masterdrive.co.za. “Rather than just hoping that your teen driver will remain safe, take proactive steps to try and ensure this. While you can never guarantee that something will not happen, you can do your best to equip your teen to remain safe on the road,” says Herbert.