No one likes to think about their child getting into a car accident. The thought can be terrifying, as we all know that car crashes can lead to injuries and even fatalities. However, it is important that parents of teens make sure that their children are doing everything they can to remain safe while learning to drive alone. The scary truth is that teenagers are three times more likely to get into a car accident than older drivers.
There are many reasons that teens are more likely to get into crashes, including distracted driving and driving under the influence. The good news is that most of these reasons are preventable, and parents can encourage their teens to take the actions to lower the risk of a crash. Here are a few steps that you can encourage your child to take as they learn to drive and after they get their license.
1) Encourage them to banish distractions.
Distracted driving is one of the top causes of car crashes among teens, mainly due to the rising use of smartphones and other portable technology. Make sure your teen is putting their phone away while driving. Sending that text just isn’t worth a potentially fatal accident. Additionally, talk to your teen about other common distractions. Many people are so concerned about smartphone use while driving that they fail to realize there are many other things that can cause distractions for a driver. Eating and drinking, applying makeup, talking to passengers, and even looking out the window at something can distract a driver enough to cause a crash.
2) Talk to your teen about driving under-the-influence.
Many crashes among teenage drivers are caused by the driver being under-the-influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving under the influence can cause deadly crashes, and should be avoided under all circumstances. Even if a crash doesn’t occur, getting a DUI can mean costly fines, loss of a license, and other consequences. Make sure your teen understands that driving while slightly “buzzed” is still drunk driving. Additionally, if your teen is taking any prescription drugs that cause drowsiness, make sure they understand that even though they are legal, these prescriptions could still cause a crash. Lastly, make sure that your teen knows to never get into a car if the driver is drunk, high, or otherwise incapacitated. Making the choice to find a different ride home could safe your child’s life.
3) Make sure your teen knows not to drive drowsy.
Drowsy driving doesn’t receive the amount of attention and press time that drunk driving does, but the scary truth is that it can be just as destructive. Exhausted drivers can have slowed reaction times and cognitive functions, similar to drunk drivers. In addition, if a driver is tired enough, he or she may fall asleep at the wheel, possibly causing a deadly crash. Make sure your teenager understands how important it is to be properly rested before getting behind the wheel.
4) Make sure your teen is following the rules of the road.
Things like speeding and failing to yield to red lights can not only cause your teen to end up with a costly ticket or points on their license, they can also cause deadly accidents. Make sure your teen knows the rules of the road well before allowing them to drive on their own. And make sure they understand how important it is to actually follow these rules. It’s better to be a little late somewhere than to get into a crash while speeding.
5) Make sure your teen understands basic car maintenance.
Getting your first car is an exciting part of anyone’s life. When your teen reaches this milestone, celebrate with them, but also make sure they know how to properly care for their new vehicle. Not performing the proper maintenance on a vehicle can lead to costly repairs down the road. And if a vehicle malfunctions due to improper maintenance, it can cause accidents. Make sure your teen is performing regular maintenance on his or her new car. Go with them to the appointments at first, and make sure they understand basic car maintenance tasks, such as how to change a tire.
These are just a few things you can remind your teenager about in order to keep them as safe as possible on the road. Heading off on that first drive alone is a huge milestone in anyone’s life, so celebrate with your teen, while also encouraging safe and careful driving practices.
This article was provided by the partners at The Joye Law Firm, who believe in giving back to their community through charity work, scholarships for promising local students, and free educational resources, such as this article.