Although car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. high school students, only one in four parents has had a serious driving safety talk with their kids. What better time to discuss driving with your teenager than during National Teen Driver Safety Week?
5 Easy-to-Remember Rules for Teen Driver Safety
Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 18-24, 2015, and is a perfect opportunity for teenagers to hone their driving skills before winter weather sets in. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has made it easy to talk firmly but openly about safe driving habits with its “Five to Drive” campaign, asking that parents go over the risks of each of the following:
- Alcohol. Since they are too young to legally drink, teenagers are unprepared for how alcohol will affect them, and don’t know how to control their actions after having too much. Your child should know that drinking is unacceptable, and that he will only be allowed to use the car when he is 100% sober.
- Texting. Teenagers are particularly prone to distraction, with their cell phones posing the biggest distraction of all. Not only is texting and driving dangerous, it is also illegal for Texas drivers under the age of 18 to use wireless communication devices while driving.
- Seat belts. A seat belt is the number one preventative technique that can save a driver’s life in a crash. Make sure your teenager buckles up before every ride. You’ll know your teenager is taking safety seriously when he reminds his passengers (or even you) to buckle up before he takes off.
- Speeding. One-third of all fatal teen car accidents involves speeding. Teenagers may speed to impress their friends or “beat” others to their destination, but many simply lack the experience to monitor their speed carefully. If you witness your child speeding, consider taking the keys away until he can demonstrate safer behavior.
- Passengers. Each passenger in a teenager’s car increases the risk of an accident. Always ask who will be riding with your teen before allowing him to have the keys, and make sure you have granted specific permission as to which of his friends may drive the car if your teen is not able to make it home.
Remember: you are ultimately responsible for your teenager, so he has to play by your rules. Make sure your teenaged children know that if these rules aren’t followed, they won’t be allowed to use the car, period. It’s better to have a sullen teenager upstairs than an injured one in the hospital.