The amount of excitement a newly licensed driver feels on their first drive is often equivalent to the amount of nervousness felt by the parents.

While you can't be with your teen at all times, there are a few simple things you can do to help keep your precious family members safe when you're apart:

Enforce the use of seat belts.

It's a known fact that seat belts save lives in many Maryland auto accidents every year, but they won't do any good if they're not being used. Rid your teen of the myth that they are invincible and therefore don't need to use this precautionary measure. Enforce the seat belt rule at all times, whether they are the driver or a passenger.

Practice safe driving.

Children of any age are more likely to emulate what they see rather than what they hear. Practice safe driving yourself. Use your seat belt, follow the speed limit and avoid the use of distractions such as cellular phones while driving. Even without thinking, your teen will likely pick up some of these good habits themselves.

Crack down on drunk driving.

Let's not pretend: Underage drinking does exist, even in our own backyard. No matter one's views on drinking before age 21, few people would dispute the devastating impact of drunk driving. Even if you do everything in your power to prevent your teen from experimenting with alcohol, you should still make them aware of the dangers of drunk driving and the importance of designated drivers. Even if your teen would never drink, it is important they recognize that getting in the car with someone who has been drinking is incredibly dangerous. After all, it's better to receive a call from your child asking for a ride than from the police after a Rockville drunk driving accident.