National Teen Drivers Safety Week is October 18 – 24, 2020. If you have a new driver in your household, this could be a good time to start (or continue) having conversations about safe driving for teens, as well as adults.
Setting the Example
As adults, we need to be good role models for our kids and set good examples for them with our own safe driving habits. We need to remember safety fundamentals like wearing our seatbelts, limiting distractions, and focusing on the road ahead of us. This will help our teen drivers learn and understand what our expectations are for them on the road.
“Turning them loose” on the open road can be scary, but we can help prepare them with some ground rules. We need to teach our teen drivers that driving is a privilege, and not a right. If they can’t follow the rules, then they don’t need the keys, regardless if it is your vehicle, or a vehicle that they paid for. They are living in your house, and that means that they follow your rules.
The Laws Are There for A Reason
We need to talk to our teen drivers about driving laws, and if they can’t follow the law, then they don’t need the keys to a vehicle. Laws are important to follow, and are what help keep us all safe when we are driving huge vehicles down the road. Sometimes, as parents, we may feel that what we say goes in one ear, and right out the other. We need to keep talking about the importance of safe driving. They are listening, even if they don’t seem like they are.
Don’t look at the conversations of safe driving as bothersome or nagging, but rather see those discussions as way to practice constant communication about safe driving skills.
Surveys show that teen drivers with parents that set and enforce firm rules are less likely to participate in risky behavior. Talk to your teens about distracted driving and ways to keep distractions to a minimum. This could include limiting passengers, putting away cell phones, and wearing your seat belt every time they get in the car, as well as not getting behind the wheel if they have been drinking alcohol, or use mind altering substances.
Intoxication + Driving = Disaster
Even though 21 is the legal age to buy alcohol, teens have been able to get their hands on it. In fact, statistics show in 2018 that 16% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had alcohol in their system.
Driving is a complex task and if under mind-altering substances (whether alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, or over-the-counter medication) can directly affect a driver’s reaction time, which can literally mean the difference between life or death when driving. In 2018, 28% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash, with males more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than females.
Remind teen drivers not to drive impaired, buckle up (every time) whether in the front seat, or the back, keep their eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and to obey all posted speed limits.
For more information and resources concerning National Teen Driver Safety Week click here.
~ Heather Silva