A high percentage of Americans drive as a part of their daily lives. We drive so often that we become immune to how dangerous driving can actually be. One in four drivers will be involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2015,“2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 235,845 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.” So, what can you do to help your child avoid becoming one of these statistics?
Start modeling good behavior early.
No matter what you tell your children, they are more likely to follow what you do over what you say. If you’re constantly speeding, checking your phone, or engaging in other dangerous driving behaviors, your children will grow up thinking this is normal. Start teaching them safe driving habits before they even reach legal driving age, by modeling these good behaviors yourself. Follow the rules of the road, don’t engage in road rage, and avoid distracted driving. Make sure you have a calm and careful overall driving personality.
Talk to them about distracted driving.
Many accidents involving teen drivers occur because of distracted driving. Distracted driving occurs when the driver is focused on anything else but the road. Cell phone use is a huge cause of accidents among teens and talking about it early can help prevent an accident later on. There are many apps that can help your teen avoid the temptation of checking his or her phone while driving, so it may be a good idea to look into one of those if you notice your teen is being tempted by his or her phone while on the road.
Start talking about alcohol early.
Many parents never broach the topic of alcohol with their teens, but it is important to have this conversation. Many driving accidents caused by teens involve alcohol, and 1 in 5 teens involved in fatal accidents have alcohol in their system. Your teen needs to be prepared to handle the peer pressure to drink and understand the proper steps to take if he or she becomes too intoxicated to drive. While it may be an uncomfortable conversation, make sure your teen knows what to do if he or she ever needs a ride home or is around someone else who does. This conversation could save lives.
Make sure your teen knows how to drive in all conditions.
When you’re helping your teen practice for their driving test, you may end up driving mostly during the day and during fair weather. The problem is that many accidents involving teen drivers occur at night and during inclement weather. Make sure you’ve driven with your teen at night, in the rain, and in whatever other conditions may occur in your area before the license test is even taken.
While there is no one thing that can guarantee that teens will never be involved in an accident, taking these steps can help ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers.