Teens can feel invincible, but it is crucial for them to understand the driving laws in your state and that a car accident can change someone’s life in a matter of seconds. Here are some safety tips for teenagers to keep in mind when driving.
Turn the Cell Phone Off
Distracted driving is responsible for nine fatalities and 1,000 injuries every day in the U.S. To avoid temptation, it is in your teen’s best interests to advise them to put their cell phone in the glove box or a purse or bag. To put things in perspective, reading a single text can take your eyes off the road for five seconds, during which you can travel the entire length of a football field. To take it a step further, parents can utilize or download a family-friendly, safe driving app to block calls and messages and send out alerts to let others know your child is busy driving.
Know and Obey the Speed Limit
Speed is a major contributing factor in fatal teen accidents. Therefore, it is critical to know the importance of speed limit control and awareness. Get your teen in the habit of leaving five minutes earlier, so they have extra time to arrive at their destination safely.
A car full of friends can be overstimulating for an inexperienced driver. Have your teen limit passengers to one or two to minimize excess activity in the vehicle.
Getting into the habit of driving defensively can help your teen avoid accidents. A defensive driver looks and plans for other drivers’ mistakes. Defensive driving can promote safety by giving drivers the ability to size up traffic situations on the road ahead. For example, they should:
- Start to slow down sooner and begin applying the brakes the instant they see a hazard developing;
- Apply the brakes gradually, so the vehicle doesn’t spin or grind to a stop so quickly that they risk a rear-end collision; and
- Plan for what another driver might do in time to take the actions necessary to prevent an accident.
Discuss the Dangers of Driving Under the Influence
Although your teen has likely already been told the dangers of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reiterate the risks. Every 15 minutes, a teenager is killed due to drunk driving. Advise your child to never get behind the wheel or in a vehicle with someone who is intoxicated. Let them know there are other options and what to do instead if they wind up in that scenario.
Model Safe Driving Behaviors
Parents are the earliest and most influential role models kids have. If you follow the rules of the road and drive safely, it is more likely to influence your teen to do the same.
Maintain the Vehicle
Teaching a teen to be responsible for their vehicle’s condition can instill a sense of pride in their accomplishment, which in turn can result in safer driving behaviors. In addition, advise them on what to do if their car was to break down. They should also know how to handle potential problems, such as a flat tire, and the importance of moving to a safe location before getting out of the car.