When a teen reaches the age where he or she is legally able to drive a car, parents are suddenly faced with a new set of concerns regarding their safety. These are very legitimate concerns as the leading cause of death in the U.S. for teens between the age of 15 and 19 is car crashes. Unfortunately, as a teen driver, safety may not be the first thing that an adolescent thinks of when behind the wheel of a car. For this reason, it is important for parents to take an active part in ensuring that their kids drive responsibly and that they understand the importance of driving safely. The best way to do this is for parents to be responsible drivers themselves. When driving, parents must practice the safe habits that they are telling their children to adhere to. This includes obeying speed laws, buckling up, and not driving if drunk or otherwise intoxicated. As important as it is to show teens how to have a safe drive, it is equally important to discuss it with them as well. When talking to their kids, parents should review dangerous driving habits and the potential consequences. Rules should also be set regarding limits and what teens are not allowed to do while behind the wheel of a car. For some parents, a written contract serves to reinforce these rules and the concerns that are discussed. Parents will also want to provide their kids with defensive driving tips to help them avoid accidents due to the dangerous driving habits of others. People can keep their families safe and healthy with these defensive driving and safety tips for teenage motorists.
One of the simplest ways to encourage teen driver safety is to reiterate the basics of driving. These are the skills and rules that a teen must master in order to get his or her driver’s license. Unfortunately, many teens become lazy or simply ignore the basic lessons that they were taught. Often this is due to the bad driving habits and influences of others, such as parents, family members, or friends. In some instances, teens may simply ignore them, consider them unimportant or unnecessary. Teens should always check to ensure that the car’s rear-view and side mirrors are properly positioned. This can reduce the risk of accidentally hitting someone due to ill-positioned mirrors, or as a result of being distracted while driving and attempting to fix them. Using turn signals when changing lanes is another basic that is often neglected, but can lower the risk of a collision. In addition to signals and properly adjusted mirrors, the driver must also remember to check his or her blind spot when changing lanes as well. Because speeding causes nearly 40 percent of all crashes, teens should always adhere to the posted speed limit and speed limit laws.
Distraction is another cause for concern, particularly with young drivers. A momentary distraction can have tragic consequences when operating a vehicle. To have a safe drive, teens should avoid anything that takes their focus off of the road. Ideally, the teen motorist should drive with no teen passengers in the car with him or her. Passengers, particularly other teens, can double the risk of an accident by encouraging the driver to take unnecessary risks or by distracting him or her from the road. Texting and using ones cell phone must also be avoided at all times. Not only will these take the driver’s eyes and attention off the road, but in many states one or both are illegal. To avoid this distraction, turning off the phone before driving is recommended. Teaching kids to be defensive drivers will also help make them better drivers. The following defensive driving tips will help teenage drivers to remain safe while on the road with potentially reckless drivers. One of the most important tips is to stay aware of what is happening not only in front of the vehicle, but also behind and to the sides of it as well. Teens should learn to create a buffer zone between their vehicle and the car that is driving ahead of them. This will give them room to break safely without hitting the car that is in front of them. In slower speeds, it is recommended that the buffer is the length of a car. When driving faster speeds, the distance should be greater to allow for a longer stopping distance.
Practicing safe driving techniques results in huge benefits for both parents and teens. By reducing the risk of accidents, teens are building up more confidence in their ability to drive. It also instills safe driving habits that will last a lifetime. Safe driving encourages teens to act responsibly and make wise decisions, a trait that is necessary as an adult. On a financial level, a responsible teen driver will help to keep insurance premiums from rising, conserve gas, and reduce the need for costly automotive repairs. Most importantly, the greatest benefit is that the risk of injury or even death is drastically reduced.
Read more about teen driving safety by reviewing the following links.
- TeensHealth: The Keys to Defensive Driving
- Safe Driving Tips for Teenage Drivers
- America Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – Helping Your Teen Become a Safe Driver
- Medline Plus: Safe Driving for Teens
- Six Safe-Driving Tips for Teens
- Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: Teen Driving Safety Tips
- Defensive Driving Techniques for All Drivers
- Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles: Teen Driver Safety
- Mass.gov – Teen Driving Links
- Partners for Safe Teen Driving – Links