Many parents have mixed emotions when their teenager receives a driver’s license. The feeling of pride that their child has accomplished a major step in life is often tempered by a fear their child may be involved in an accident. For many parents, the terror of getting a call from the police that their children have been in a car accident becomes all too real. The Center For Disease Control and Prevention reported drivers between 16 and 19 years old are the most likely to be involved in a car crash. In 2010, over 280,000 teens were admitted to emergency rooms in the US due to an auto accident.
How to reduce the risks of injury due to a car crash.
For parents who are worried about the high risk of auto accidents involving young drivers, there are ways you can help to protect your teen. If you are planning on purchasing a vehicle for your child, make sure the car is safe. There are several safety features which reduce the chance of injury if your teen is in an accident. Before you buy a car for your new driver, consider getting one with at least some of the following features:
- Airbags really do save lives. Look for a vehicle with dual-front airbags, as well as side airbags. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), front air bags reduce driver fatalities by up to 30% .
- Electronic Stability Control (ESC) can prevent your teen from losing control of her vehicle. ESC takes over a car’s steering when the system senses the vehicle beginning to slid. ESC can prevent a small driving mistake from turning into a terrible disaster.
- Advanced head restraints help reduce the chance of getting whiplash in an collusion. These types of headrests cushion and support a person’s head and “catches” the back of the head to lessen sudden head movements which may cause spinal damage.
- An anti-locking braking system (ABS) assists young drivers from sliding out while stopping. Braking to quickly can result in hard-to-control skidding. Adding ABS to your teen’s car can help them to stop when they need to without losing control.
Car safety means getting your hands dirty.
It is not enough to have safety features in your child’s car, these systems must be maintained. Make sure the vehicle is inspected as required by professionals. Teach your child how to do routine car maintenance and make sure it gets done. All drivers should know how to:
- Change the oil every 3,000 miles or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation;
- Check the tire pressure and fill if needed, and
- Maintain all fluid levels (brake, power steering, windshield washer and oil).
Education is still the greatest defense against driving tragedies.
Having the best safety features in your teen’s car help, but without proper driving skills and common sense, your child is still at a greater risk for being injured from an accident.
Make sure your teen follows some these simple rules when they drive and you can help to decrease their chance of becoming another tragic statistic:
- Seatbelts must be worn at all times while in the car. No excuses, no exceptions.
- Making phone calls, eating and drinking or using GPS navigators while driving is forbidden.
- Never speed. “All the other cars were going faster than the speed limit,” is not a valid excuse.
Developing the skills needed to drive safely and confidently take practice. Enrolling your teen into a driver’s ed course, even after he has received a license, is a smart idea. A Driver’s Education course teaches students the best ways to drive safely, even under adverse situations. Your teen will gain the security of knowing what to do in many hazardous conditions, making him a better driver for life. In addition to becoming a good driver, many insurance companies offer steep discounts for customers who successfully complete these courses.
Good parents will always worry when they see their children pulling out of the driveway, but with the right preparations, they can worry a lot less.