National Teen Driver Safety Week is dedicated to raising awareness and seeking out solutions to prevent teen injuries and deaths on the road. This has brought together millions of parents, policymakers, law enforcement, schools, and more from across the country to tackle the number one cause of death for teens in the U.S., which is auto accidents.
While the campaign only lasts for a week, reminding teens about safe driving should happen all year round. Whether it be taking an opportunity to set aside time to take your teen on practice driving sessions, talking with them over dinner or breakfast about the importance of being a safe driver, or even leaving them notes to find in their car or by their keys. Not only does this help your teen with improving their driving skills, but it can also be a great way to spend time together! Here’s some topics to bring up when you sit down and discuss safe driving:
⦁ Keeping distractions in the car to a minimum (cell phones, eating/drinking, music, other teen passengers)
⦁ Refusing to get into the car when the driver has been drinking alcohol or under the influence of drugs, whether that driver is your teen or someone else. Encourage them to call an Uber, a taxi, a sober friend, or to call you!
⦁ Follow the posted speed limit – in 2016, 31% of teen drivers that were involved in fatal accidents were speeding at the time of the crash.
⦁ Stress the importance of seatbelts; they save lives!
⦁ Drowsy driving is a dangerous as driving while intoxicated, so discourage them from driving while they’re exhausted.
⦁ Encourage them to constantly be scanning the road ahead of them. Stress the importance of paying close attention to their surroundings so that they develop the habit of looking at the road ahead to detect potential hazards. When they are proactive drivers, they have enough time to react, and have a better chance at avoiding an accident.
Remember, you can explain to your teens how to be a good driver, but the best way to teach them how to be safe on the roads is to lead by example! A recent study conducted by Liberty Mutual found that 37 percent of parents surveyed said that they use apps while driving, compared to 38 percent of teens. About 36 percent of parents justified their behavior by saying that they have more driving experience, but distracted driving is always dangerous! So if you find yourself running red lights, texting while driving, or consistently exceeding the speed limit, maybe this can open a discussion with your teen where you can talk about how you’re going to stop those behaviors, explain the potential risks that come along with those habits, and encourage your teen to join you in becoming a safer driver.