Did you know that vehicle crashes are the No.1 killer of U.S. teens? Studies show many of these deaths are the result of driver error to due to inexperience behind the wheel… AND they are preventable.
It’s a fact that many parents of teen drivers need to be aware of especially with fall just around the corner. In less than 10 days millions of teens will be back on the roads heading to and from class and after-school activities. Experts say this last week in August is an ideal time to speak with your student driver about the rules of the road.
Ground rules for your teen driver should include the following:
Seatbelts. In most states laws require the use of seatbelts. Insist that your son or daughter buckle up before he or she backs out of the driveway. It’s a proven fact that seatbelts save lives… and not just the driver’s life. Make it a rule that all passengers riding in the vehicle buckle up too. And, speaking of the people in the backseat…
Limit Passengers. It’s a good idea to limit the number of teen passengers that ride with your child. (Some states have laws in place that place a limit on the number of passengers a new driver can have in a vehicle.) Bottom line: More teens mean more talking, more activity and potentially more chaos. Which leads us to this next rule…
Eliminate Distractions. Young drivers plus cellphones, BlackBerries, handheld video games, DVD players, loud music, food and friends equal major distractions. You might consider working with your child to eliminate (or at least cut down on) the number of distractions in his/her vehicle. Also, remind your young driver that he or she should be focusing on the road and not on text messaging his next passenger.
Obey Traffic Laws. No matter what the age of the driver, laws are laws and breaking them means suffering the consequences. Whether they are running late for school in the morning or rushing home from football practice at night, studies show teens have a tendency to speed up to make up for lost time. It’s a good idea to discuss the dangers of speeding with your teens and perhaps, strip them of their driving privileges if they receive a ticket.
No Drinking and Driving. A recent survey of teen drivers revealed that 10% of respondents admitted to having driven at least once while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. (They were lucky enough to still be alive to participate in the survey.) This is a no-brainer—drive home the message to your child that drinking then getting behind the wheel is something you won’t tolerate.
If you are a parent of a teen driver I strongly recommend you read the following articles: