Tip #3: Talk to your teenager about safe driving and don’t limit the conversation to just “drinking and driving.” Crashes involving teenagers go well beyond the drinking and driving problem. Often times it has to do with loss of control of the vehicle. If they lose control there are a number of things that could have gone wrong.
- Speeding – A lot of teenagers like to push the limits – when you are out practicing with your teenager, be a stickler about them staying at the speed limit. Don’t condone a “few miles over” because everybody else does it. All drivers should be doing the speed limit, but let’s not teach our kids that going over the limit is OK
- Passengers – having passengers in their vehicle when they are first licensed is NOT a good idea. There are graduated license laws in many states, but for some it is not enough. Here in the state of Arizona a brand new driver is allowed to take 1 non-family member teenager under the age of 18 in their vehicle. My recommendation to parents is that that is 1 too many and that they establish a rule in their household of 0 passengers for at least the first 6 months to 1 year of driving. When teens first get their license they should be focused on driving and only driving, having a friend in the car is too much of a distraction.
- Inexperience – make sure that your teens have a lot of different experiences when they are practicing with you. Going back and forth to school every day becomes familiar to them and does not teach them all of the varied scenarios that could occur when driving. Take them places you find difficult to drive and help them learn how to navigate and drive at the same time.
- Night Time Driving – At night is when many teen crashes occur. Many states have included night time restrictions in their graduated license laws. Always know where your teen is going, have them check in with you when they get to a destination and when they are leaving a destination and heading for home.
These are some of the major causes of teenage driving collisions. In many of my posts I have talked about the use of cell phones. Technology in general can be a blessing or a curse. It is great that we can keep in contact with our kids or that a GPS system in their car can provide them directions to where they need to go, but the downside is those are distractions that can take your teenager’s focus off of driving. I don’t have to tell you that using a cell phone while driving is DANGEROUS – no matter how old you are. Couple that with the inexperience of a teen driver and it can have devastating consequences. As parents you do have control, you just need to take it. Your kids may not like you much, but wouldn’t you rather have them safe and sound – they’ll eventually get over it and probably even thank you for it in years to come.
When you take the time to be involved with your teenager, talk to them about the dangers and what a BIG responsibility driving is, they WILL be less likely to be involved in a car crash. Even if they are rolling their eyes and look like they could care less about what you are saying – they are. This isn’t the time to pull back, it is the time to be more involved, make sure they are well prepared to handle what goes on out there everyday. Ford Motor Company recently posted 5 Tips for Talking to Your Teen about Safe Driving.
Previous DrivingMBA Tips can be found in the following posts: Tip #1 posted on June 10th; Tip #2 posted on July 10th; Tip #3 posted on August 4th