Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers aged 15 to 19, in the United States, reports the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA). For this reason, the U.S. Department of Transportation and NHTSA designated October 16 through October 22 National Teen Driver Safety Week.
Use this time to share the following driver safety tips with your teens:
Stay Off Your Phone
Teens spend a lot of time on their phones. Unfortunately, many teens also spend time on their phones behind the wheel. Let your teens know that it is never acceptable to talk on their phone or text and drive.
You may want to consider creating consequences for cell phone use behind the wheel.
Avoid having too many passengers
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that having young passengers in the car is often as distracting to teen drivers as texting while driving.
In fact, just having one young passenger in the car makes your teen driver 44 percent more at risk of being involved in an accident.
No Reckless Driving
Speeding is one of the easiest ways for young drivers to lose control of their vehicle and cause a serious accident.
Talk to your teen driver about always following designated speed limit signs to avoid being issued a traffic violation and, more importantly, to avoid putting themselves and others at risk.
No Drinking — EVER
Unfortunately, it is tough to always monitor your teenagers. While they should be avoiding alcohol altogether, telling them not to drink alcohol is not always enough to get them to avoid drinking.
However, that does not mean you should not stress the importance of never getting behind the wheel if they have had a drink.
Talk to your teens and let them know that if they have been drinking, always get a sober friend to take them home.
Or you can offer to pick them up yourselves in they make a mistake and end up consuming alcohol. Consider giving them one free pass if they call you instead of getting behind the wheel.
Wear Your Seat Belt — Every Single Time
It is common knowledge — seat belts save lives. No questions about it. Yet some drivers still ride without their seat belts securely fastened.
If saving their life is not enough of an excuse, remind your teen drivers that wearing a seatbelt can help them avoid a fine if a police officer catches them. (Also remind them that they will pay for all tickets.)
Set a Good Example
While it seems like your teens never listen to you, a recent study by Liberty Mutual found that they do pay attention — especially to your actions behind the wheel. Because your teens will likely mirror your driving habits, make sure you follow the safety tips above every time you get behind the wheel.
For more information on keeping your teens safe behind the wheel, check out our post on what you need to know with a new teen driver.