Memorial Day through Labor Day is statistically the most dangerous driving period for teens. So, with end-of-school-year festivities, graduations, summer activities, and many more new beginnings, it’s essential to talk to your young or new driver about driving safely.
Car crashes are the second leading cause of death for teens in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For example, the eight danger zones — according to the CDC — that you and your young driver should be aware of include: driver inexperience, driving with other teen passengers, nighttime driving, not using seat belts, distracted driving, drowsy driving, reckless driving, and impaired driving.
Here are ten tips from Impact Teen Drivers for keeping your new teen driver as safe as possible:
1. Buckle up
Stress the importance of seatbelts to your teen. It takes two seconds. No matter how far they’re going, your teen must wear their seat belt properly each and every ride. It is the best line of defense in a car crash.
2. Set an example
You are the number one influencer of your teen’s attitudes and behaviors. This means that as parents, it is important to be the driver you want your teens to be.
3. Talk to your teens about how to drive distraction-free
Teach them to put all distractions away before they start driving — for example, put down food, put away their phone, and turn down the music. Being safe behind the wheel means two hands on the wheel, eyes on the road, mind on driving, and ears alert.
4. Talk to your teens about how to be an aware and vocal passenger
Teach them to be an extra set of eyes for the driver, and make sure they know how and feel empowered to speak up if they feel unsafe inside a car.
5. Teach your teens to know their driver
Choose safety over convenience for every ride. It’s crucial as parents to know who your teen is getting into the car with, how long they have been driving, and their driving history.
6. Follow the Graduated Driving Licensing Law
Please educate yourself on the provisions of your teen’s license, and remember this law is in place to keep your teen driver safe while they gain experience.
7. Practice, practice, practice
Your new teen driver needs as much behind-the-wheel practice with you as they can get. After they are a licensed driver, check-in to see how they are doing. If they have picked up any bad habits, correct them during the check-in.
8. Talk to other parents about your expectations when you aren’t there
Make sure the parents of your teen’s friends are on the same page with you when it comes to following the rules of the road.
9. Drowsy driving is distracted driving
Ensure you and your teen understand the importance of getting adequate sleep before driving. Then, make a plan with your teen on what they should do if they’re tired before needing to drive or if they become tired while driving.
10. Advocate for the Graduated Driver Licensing Laws at your teen’s school
Talk to your teen’s school administration about keeping young drivers safe at school events.
Get more resources for keeping your teen driver safe online.