By the time you’re ready to drive on your own, it’s hard to say who might be more excited—you or your friends. Some of your friends may not yet have earned their driver’s licence and will want to share in the excitement and independence associated with your being able to drive.
You’re in charge
Your friends’ excitement can lead to peer pressure—which, as you know, can have a strong influence on decisions young people make. It’s important to understand that the combination of peer pressure and your still-new ability to drive on your own can put you in real danger.
Friends may encourage you to take unnecessary risks while you’re driving. They may seem like small things—like driving fast or turning up the music—or they could be things you know are serious, like drinking and driving.
It can be hard to say no, but you need to remember that when you’re driving, you’re in charge—and responsible for the safety of your passengers.
Here are some tips to help you manage peer pressure:
- Be prepared to say ‘no’ to your friends if they want you to do something reckless
- Make sure your friends know that when you’re behind the wheel, you make the decisions
- Don’t hesitate to park your car and call for a ride if you don’t feel safe
“Blame” your parents
If your friends pressure you to do something you feel is risky, you can feel trapped. You don’t want to put yourself or your friends in danger, but you don’t want your friends to think you’re ruining their fun.
Having a family driving agreement can get you out of these situations with your friends and keep you alive. If you need an easy out, let your friends know your parents will take away your driving privileges: no car for you means no car for them.