6 Teenage Driver Safety Tips
Even though much time has passed, I remember the days of being a teenage driver. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard my dad say, “Driving is a privilege, not a right.” I would’ve earned enough money during my teenage years to go straight into retirement! All kidding aside, my dad was correct. Driving truly is a privilege. As a personal injury lawyer, I’ve come across the harsh reality, time and time again, that driving is a privilege that can alter or even end lives if drivers aren’t responsible.
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 15 and 18 years old… October 15-21, 2017, is National Teenage Driver Safety Week. Here are six tips that will decrease the risk of your child being injured in a car accident:
1. Always wear a seatbelt.
In 2015, more than 500 teenagers died in car accidents where the driver was a teenager. 58% of the teenagers who died in these car accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. Studies also show an 84% chance that a teenage passenger will not wear a seatbelt if they are riding in a car with a teenage driver who is not wearing a seatbelt.
Putting on a seatbelt should be the first thing your teenager does when they get in a car. It’s crucial for you to be very direct when you discuss the dangers your teenager faces when they don’t wear a seatbelt. Teach them to be a leader and wear a seatbelt even if they encounter peer pressure.
2. Don’t drive when you’re tired or drowsy.
The teenage years are a very exciting time. Between school, work, jobs, socializing, dating, and other activities, teens have very busy lives. Unfortunately, many teens will experience sleep deprivation at some point.
As a parent, it’s in your best interest to help your teenager monitor their schedule. The teenage years are the phase when your children start to “spread their wings” and be more independent but don’t hesitate to step in and remind your child of the importance of getting a sufficient amount of sleep so that they can be safe drivers.
Help your child be prepared by discussing the options available to them if they become too drowsy to drive. For example, make sure they know that it’s ok to pull over and sometimes sleep, that you’re willing to come and pick them up if needed, or that other arrangements can be made. Make sure your teenager knows you’re your teenager knows that you are “on their side” and that reaching out for help will not get them in trouble but will help them gain more of your trust.
3. Make sure your passengers are being safe.
Statistics show that a teenager’s chances of being involved in a fatal car accident go increase as the number of passengers increases.
Help your teenager realize that passengers can be fun, but they can also be distracting. Sit down with your teenager to determine rules that are expected to be followed when your teenager is driving. The rules should specifically address the behavior of passengers. Make sure your teenager explains the rules to their friends prior to offering their friends a ride. The rules could address topics such as having all occupants wear seat belts, limiting the radio volume to a certain amount, and possibly limiting the number of passengers allowed at one time.
4. Regardless of Whether You’re A Teenage Driver, Don’t Speed.
Speeding can be very dangerous. 29% of all fatal teen car accidents in 2015 were caused by speeding.
Teach your teenager to leave a space between their car and the car in front of them. Also, teach them to begin stopping early enough to avoid a collision. Explain to your teenager that speeding increases the risk of being injured or killed because it gives them less time to react to other cars, people, or objects.
5. Don’t Be A Distracted Teenage Driver.
Distracted driving is becoming a serious problem for teenagers and adults. In 2015, 10% of all teenage drivers involved in fatal accidents were reported to have been driving while distracted.
Encourage your teenager to keep their hands on the wheel when they drive. This will improve your teenager’s response time to obstacles on the road. It will also help your teenager to avoid texting while driving, looking at Facebook, or doing any other activities with their phone.
Many phones are now rolling out a do not disturb feature that can be activated while your teenager is driving. The feature prevents your child from being notified of text messages.
As a parent, be sure that you are modeling good behavior when it comes to distracted driving. Put your phone down and focus on driving. Teach your teenager by your example.
6. Don’t drink and drive.
Even though it’s illegal for teenagers to consume alcohol, 20% of all fatal teenage driver car accidents involve a teenager illegally drinking alcohol.
As a parent, it’s important that you set a good example by not drinking and driving. Explain to your teenager that alcohol will impair their ability to drive safely. Help your teenager also understand that some prescription drugs might also impair the ability to drive safely. Teach your teenager to read labels and be informed.
It’s impossible to guarantee that your teenager will never be involved in a car accident. However, these simple steps will greatly reduce the chances of your teenager being injured or killed. Life can get busy, but it’s important to make time to sit down with your teenagers and help them understand your love and concern for their well-being and help them become informed, safe teenage drivers.
Mike Allbee is the owner of Allbee Law Firm. Allbee Law Firm is a personal injury law firm that helps car accident victims and people impacted by the wrongful death of a loved one.