When it comes to your kids, you’ve gone your whole life worrying about this and that. How is their first day of school going to go? What sports are they are going to be good at? What’s their worst subject in school going to be? Then, in the blink of an eye, you wake up one morning and it’s time to take them to go get their driver’s permit. Now you have a whole new world of concerns. Are they really paying attention to you when you’re driving so they can learn how to drive safe? Are they going to wear their seatbelts when you’re not in the car with them?
Having a teen driver in the home is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Now you have someone who you can send to the grocery store and to run errands for you. You can even sleep in a little later in the mornings because there’s no need to take your teen to school – but what about safety?
Sadly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day six teens ages 16–19 suffer fatal motor vehicle injuries, often due to underestimating the dangerous or hazardous situations on the road. Teens that practice safe driving techniques, and are aware of common risks and dangers, are less likely to be involved in an accident. Parents, following these nine safety tips, can help keep your teen safe on the road.
Make Your Teen Abide by Curfews
If your community has a curfew for teen drivers, make sure to have your child abide by it. In many communities with a teen driving curfew, accidents have been reduced by nearly 70% in these areas.
Provide Your Teen With Plenty of Driving Experience
Studies show the number one contributor to teen crashes is a lack of experience. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, back in 1993, 82% of crashes resulting in a fatality where a 16-year-old was driving were caused by driving errors. How exactly does this lack of experience come into play? Steering and maneuvering the car is quite simple for teen drivers. It’s the ability to scan the scene, predict danger, and develop maturity in regard to making responsible choices behind the wheel that teens struggle with. It’s because of this that the more experience your teen driver was behind the wheel, the better.
Choose a Car Wisely
A lack of experience magnifies the chances of a crash taking place when you put your teen behind the wheel of a vehicle that already has high crash rates, like a convertible or Jeeps with a roll bar. When choosing a car for your teen, make sure it’s not smaller than a mid-size car and steer clear of convertibles and vehicles with roll bars.
Stick to Daytime Driving in the Beginning
When your teen is first starting to gain experience, make sure they drive during daytime hours. And if possible, limit their driving when it’s raining, but this only applies during the first one to two months of driving. After they have mastered driving during the day when it’s sunny outside, they should then gain experience driving during the dark and when it’s raining. Knowing how to drive in the dark and in the rain is essential to avoiding crashes, but you want to introduce them to this type of driving slowly.
Avoid Interstates and Parkways at First
Most car accidents occur within 25 miles of a person’s home. It is believed that a heightened sense of relaxation when driving through one’s own town and neighborhood contributes to this high percentage of close-to-home accidents. This is why your child should gain as much experience as possible driving in his or her own neighborhood and on routes that the child will commonly travel. In the beginning, though, it’s suggested to avoid interstates and parkways, even if the child will be driving them on a regular basis. Why? Because your teen needs to gain experience driving at normal speeds before driving on high-speed roadways. After a month or two of driving around the neighborhood, and once you think your teen is ready, then you can start letting them gain experience on parkways and interstates where the speed limits tend to be anywhere from 60-70 mph.
You can Suspend Your Teen’s Driving Privileges
Knowing when to put your foot down and suspend your teen’s driving privileges is key to keeping them safe. If your child gets a speeding ticket or you catch them driving (or riding) without a seatbelt, it’s probably best to suspend driving privileges for a period of time. This definitely applies if your child is caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Just the same as there can be legal consequences for these issues, there should also be consequences to you. From the get-go, you want to set the tone that you will not tolerate immature choices behind the wheel from your teen driver.
Know When to Say No
If it’s becoming a blizzard or monsoon outside, it’s best to tell your teen he or she can’t drive. Driving on extremely wet, snowy, or icy roads is an accident waiting to happen. Not only should your teen not be allowed to drive dangerous roadways but you should do your best to avoid them too.
Take Advantage of Extra Driving Courses
If you feel your teen needs more training and learning, you can always sign them up for extra driver’s lessons. For some people, adults and teens alike, learning to drive can be a bit difficult and there’s nothing wrong with this as long as you address the issue properly. Extra driving courses can be the key to teaching your teen how to be safe behind the wheel.
Have a Car Accident Lawyer On Speed Dial
Lastly, since car accidents are high in number for teen drivers, you’ll want to have a car accident lawyer on speed dial. If your teen has been involved in an accident, make sure he or she knows to never claim fault. Seeking medical attention and contacting the police to have an accident report made are the only two things your teen needs to do after an accident has taken place. You as the parent, though, need to make sure you contact a car accident attorney to handle the legalities of the wreck and to ensure your teen is compensated for any damages and medical expenses that were caused by another driver.