This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. I remember the day that I let our oldest son drive off by himself for the first time. He was all good with it while I was a ball of nerves. He is behind the wheel of a hunk of metal and glass that if it gets out of control could kill him or someone else! What were we thinking? He’s not ready! Ok deep breath…a little over reaction? Or is it?
Teens are more likely to a get a traffic ticket. – Speeding, running red lights, not coming to a complete stop. Not using their turn signals. Talk to your teen about why it is important to obey the laws.
97% of teens will agree that texting and driving is dangerous but, 43% admit to doing it. – “Just this once…” soon becomes a habit. Have them make it a habit to put the phone on silent, and or put it in the glove box when driving. NOTHING is that important.
1 in 5 will have an accident in their first year of driving. – Driving at night, unexperienced driving in different weather situations, rain or snow. “Distracted driving” plays a large part in accidents. Distractions such as changing a CD, answering the phone, (that should be in the glove box), friends in the car. Talk to them about some of the distractions that they think they may be facing. When riding with them, watch how they handle “normal” road distractions. Cars cutting them off, sudden braking, sudden turns.
Teen drivers with passengers are 3.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash. – Having friends in the car can easily distract your teen driver. Talking to each other, joking around, “hey check that out.” Make sure that you are FIRM about no other passengers. Some states have embraced this as a law now. As an example, No one under the age of 18 in the car with a first year driver, or only one other passenger 16 or under. This is something we were tough on. If they were caught, they lost their license for 30 days.
If they were in a car with someone who was driving recklessly, only 44% of them would speak up. – Teach them to speak up and say “Stop being reckless or let me out.” And to not ride with that person again. You can be an example to them also. Don’t speed, come to a complete stop, always use turn signals, and don’t text and drive or answer your phone! Talk to their friends and see what they say about your teens driving. Talk to other parents and see what issues they are facing and what they see with other teen drivers.
The average 16-year-old has had 30 times more hours of coaching in sports than most states require behind the wheel for an unrestricted driver’s license. – Spend time driving with your teen. Even AFTER they have completed driver’s education. Ask them to take you to the store. Let them drive a portion of the family vacation trip. They need to experience ALL driving situations. ALL weather conditions. I would rather be there with them for that first trip in a rain storm to guide them through it than their friend who has about as much experience as my teen.
Teens whose parents set rules and monitor behavior are 70% less likely to drive intoxicated. – Set curfews, driving limits, (only to and from locations) let your friends know what car your teen is driving so they too can be watching out for them and you for their teens. It takes a village.
There are so many topics that can be reviewed. Car maintenance and safety. What to do in case of an accident. What to do if you are pulled over by an officer of the law.
Although you have been probably been talking to your teen about safe driving before they got their license, this is a good time to review some of the safety rules and guidelines that could help save their lives and lives of their friends.
Communication, education and experience all go hand in hand.