Teen driver safety facts and tips, father teaching daughter to drive

How To Best Prepare For Your Teen Getting Their Driver’s License

As a parent, you are always looking for ways to help your kids and to keep them safe. Your now teenage child is approaching 16 years of age and about to get their driver’s license;  that can be an intimidating or even scary thought for many parents. That is why it is crucial that both you and your teen understand the facts and the risks associated with teenage driving. We have gathered the most important information for you all to review, as well as key safety tips to follow.

 

Motor Vehicle Crashes Are The Leading Cause of Death For U.S. Teens

It is a very sad and frightening statistic. There are many risk factors that lead to a high number of teen driver accidents and deaths on the road. Knowing these risks and how to best avoid or minimize them, can be the difference between life of death.

 

Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is responsible for 60% of teen driver accidents. They can get easily distracted by the use of their cellphone and texting, loud music playing in the car, trying to grab something within the car, getting ready doing their hair, putting on makeup, joking around with friends, interacting with passengers in their car, or even by eating while driving. All of these factors can take a teen’s attention off of the road and lead to an accident.
 
Driving at Night
The risks increase after dark with nighttime driving. 33.5% of teen deaths occur between the hours of 9pm and 5am.
 
Seatbelt Use
With the increased risks of teen driving, seat belt use is of the upmost importance, not only for your teen driver but for their passengers as well.
 
Number Of Teen Passengers In The Car
As the number of young passenger (under the age of 21) goes up in the vehicle, so does the risk of the teen driver getting into a fatal car crash. Just having 1 young passenger in the car increases that risk by 44%.*
 
Speeding
Many teens are excited with idea of being able to drive and drive at high speeds. Peer pressure can also play a factor in speeding. When speeding, the teens ability to react can be reduced and thus lead to more accidents.
 
Alcohol and Impaired Driving
The concern surrounding underaged drinking and driving has always been one that keeps parents up at night. The risk also includes your child being in a car with a teen driver who is under the influence.
 
Weather Conditions
Many new teen drivers inherently lack experience driving in suboptimal weather and road conditions. Driving in rain, high winds, snow, and icy conditions can greatly affect a teen’s driving abilities.
 
Your Teen Is A Risk To Other Drivers On The Road
Teen drivers are a risk not only to themselves but to their passengers and other motorists on the road. Almost 60% of people who were killed in a car accident where a young teen driver was driving, were people who were passengers in the car, people in the other cars involved in the crash, or bystanders like pedestrians.*

 

Safety Tips For Parents and Teens

Now that you know the severity of the risks of a teenage driver, we want to make sure you, the parent, and your teen are prepared for the road with these safety tips.

 

Communication

Talking with your teen about the inherent risks of driving and the realities of the road can help prepare them. Be sure to have an open line of communication with your teen.

 

Sharing In The Responsibility

Driving is a privilege not a right; have your teen share in the costs of operating the vehicle to teach responsibility, which might translate into better driving skills.

 

Setting Rules

Establishing a set of rules such as seat belt usage, passenger limits in the car, limiting the volume of the music, having predetermined check-ins when they leave or arrive their destination, and limiting nighttime driving can greatly help keep your teen safe. There must be a zero-tolerance rule regarding drinking or drugs and driving. Offer to always come and rescue with no consequences

 

Driver’s Education

Investing in courses and driver’s education can set your child on the right path for getting on the road with confidence. Extra education and training from professionals can help your teen gain confidence on the road.

 

Practice

Taking your teen out to drive under adult supervision and showing them the right way to drive is crucial. It is especially important to have them drive under different weather conditions that they may experience when driving solo, so they are exposed to them under supervision. Your child may be influenced by your driving habits, so be sure to set a good example for them. Periodically check in and ride with your teen driver to keep tabs on progress and reinforce solid driving habits.

 

Car Safety Features

Making sure the vehicle your teen driver will be using has the most essential safety features such as seat belt and airbags is of the upmost importance. Additional features such as rear backup cameras, lane departure systems, and anti-lock braking systems also can help keep your teen safe.

 

Limit Passengers Allowed In The Car

With all of the additional risk associated with having passengers, especially young passengers in the vehicle with a teen driver, it can be a good idea to place a limit or a zero passengers rule.

 

Limit Or Do Not Allow Nighttime Driving

The risk of fatal accident involving a teenaged driver also significantly increases at night. Limiting the time your child is allowed to drive at night and implementing curfews can greatly help. It is highly recommended that new drivers not be allowed to driver after 10pm for the first six months of driving.

 

No Cellphones

The use of cellphones and texting is one of the leading distractions, especially with teenage drivers. Setting a rule where your child cannot use their cellphone when driving is a good place to start. There are apps that can help limit your teens use of their phones while driving.

 

Check Your Local State Laws     

Each state has its own rules and regulations when it comes to acquiring a driver’s license. Some states have very strict rules on teen drivers in particular. A great place to see your states laws and requirements is by visiting https://teendriving.aaa.com and choosing your state.

 

More Ways To Prepare Your Teen For The Road

Unfortunately, distracted driving and accidents are not the only concerns that keep parents awake at night worrying about their teen in the road. Preparing your teen for driving also involves teaching them on what to do if they are involved in an accident or if they experience car trouble on the side of the road. This is where a car emergency kit comes in handy.

Every vehicle, but especially a teenager’s car, should have a roadside emergency kit in it. These kits have essential tools and equipment that can help keep your teen safe in an emergency situation or a simple breakdown. Buying one and showing your teen how to use it is a crucial step in preparing them for the road. And you as the parent will have the peace of mind that your child has a safety kit in their car that can help them.



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* Sources

Statistics regarding teen driving are from studies conducted for https://teendriving.aaa.com/CA/