Keeping Your Teen Safe While Driving
When teens begins driving, it is an exciting time in their lives. It also can be a dangerous time for them. According to the NHTSA, vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for drivers 18 years old and younger. Even though parents may worry about their newly mobile teen, only 25 percent of parents sit down and have a serious conversation with their children about safe driving.
Breathe Easy Insurance Solutions recommends that parents speak with their children about how to drive safely and defensively. We provide five talking points for parents below to guide the conversation.
1.) Always Wear Seat Belts.
Most parents have modeled seat belt use to their children so most likely your child knows that seat belts are important for safe driving. However, you should speak directly to the need for wearing seat belts 100 percent of the time when he is behind the wheel. Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 use seat belts less frequently than other age groups. Let your new driver know that seat belt use is non-negotiable if he wants to drive.
2.) No Phone Use When Behind the Wheel.
Speak with your child about the dangers of texting and talking on the phone while driving. Let them know that hands-free phone use is simply not enough, that she must completely put away the phone while she is driving. Even when a driver uses a hands-free device, talking on the phone while drive distracts the driver. Texting is even more dangerous because the driver’s eyes are not on the road while reading or sending a text. Distracted driving is dangerous for anyone to do, but for inexperienced teens new to driving, the results can be deadly.
3.) Never Exceed the Posted Speed Limit.
Though teens may be inclined to push limits, let them know that driving is no place to do it. Speeding puts them, as well as other drivers, at risk for serious accidents.
4.) Never, Ever Use Alcohol While Driving.
No amount of alcohol is acceptable for teens while driving. In fact, alcohol use is illegal for anyone under 21 in all states. Still, the NHTSA reports that in approximately 25 percent of all accidents that result in death involve a teen driver with a BAC of .01. Let your child know that drinking and then driving a vehicle is not acceptable, no matter what age, even for adults.
5.) One or No Passengers, Depending On Your State Laws.
Some states will allow teen drivers to have one passenger in the car while she is driving, and in other states, no passengers are permitted. Passengers present additional distractions and can affect the driver’s judgment at crucial times. Remember back when you were a new driver, and then think about having passengers in the car affected your driving and judgment.
Let your child know that driving is a privilege, and with that privilege comes great responsibility. You must stick to your guns and if the new driver violates any of the rules you establish, you must be willing to take away the keys. Make good on the promise and take the keys if he does not abide by the guidelines you discuss with him. Continue to have regular conversations with the teen about safe driving and other issues to ensure that safety is always a top priority when he is behind the wheel. Train your child to be a safe and defensive driver and follow up on his driving habits on a regular basis. Soon, you will have another safe and trusted driver in the family.
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