New teen drivers are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash. We are in the “100 deadliest days” which are the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs 15%. Statistics show that teen crashes spike during the summer months because teens are out of school and on the road. Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Educate yourself about teen driving. Do your research, learn all you can about teen driving and what you can do to increase the odds that your child will be safe on the roadways.
Talk to your teen about driving. Studies have show that when parents engage in dialogue about driving their teenagers are less likely to be involved in crashes. Some conversation starters: what driving symbolizes, what it was was like when you learned to drive, what has changed. Talk to them about what they think they need to feel competent and safe on the roads.
Write a contract. Make sure your rules are clear about:
Where, when and with whom they can drive. (If they are new drivers, consider 0 passengers for the first year of driving). Be clear about zero tolerance rules for driving distracted, speeding, alcohol and texting and be clear about the consequences for breaking the rules. Make sure the parents of their friends are aware of your rules as well.
Be a good role model. Ask yourself the question, “would I want my teenager to emulate my behavior behind the wheel?” If not, then it’s never too late to change your behavior. Do it for the sake of your child.
- Wear your seat belt. Buckle up and make sure everyone is buckled up in your vehicle. Make it a rule for your teen drivers as well.
- Create a rule that the ENTIRE family has to abide by regarding the use of cell phones in the car.
Develop a plan. If they ever find themselves in a compromising situation where they need an out, let them know it is ok to call anytime and you’ll be there.