31 Oct 6 Things Every Young Driver Needs To Know
It’s a thrilling and exciting experience in a teenager’s life the day they finally receive their driver’s license. Being able to drive means more freedom and independence, but along with that comes more responsibilities. Vehicle crashes are still the #1 cause of death in teens but studies are showing that teen drivers whose parents talk to them about driving are less likely to exhibit risky driving behavior. Today, we’ll discuss the things every young driver needs to know.
1. Distracted Driving
One of the most common and deadly distractions for teens is a cell phone. Talking on the phone, texting or checking an app are a distractions for any driver, but teens represent the largest group involved in fatal crashes where the cause was found to be distracted driving. Studies have shown that 40% of teens say they’ve ridden in the past with a teen driver who is texting and an astounding one in four teens admits to texting while driving. While cell phone use is the most tempting distraction to your young driver, talk to them about the dangers of taking their eyes off the road for any reason and includes anything that diverts their attention from the road. Changing the radio, passengers in the vehicle or eating can all be dangerous when done behind the wheel. Remember, parents, that you are your teens best example. Showing them how to avoid distraction through your driving habits is more powerful than just telling them. Read more here: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/
2. Driving Under The Influence
With one third of teen fatal crashes involving alcohol, it’s important to discuss this issue. Talk to your teen about avoiding situations where alcohol or drugs are present, and the risks of drunk driving or riding with someone who is intoxicated. Let them know they can call you or another designated driver if they are ever in a situation where the driver is unsafe. Also, talk to the them about the dangers of driving when they are tired or not alert. Studies have shown that there’s no difference between driving drowsy or drunk. Both impair reaction time and double the risk of a car accident.
3. Rules Of The Road
While it may seem obvious, particularly after learning all the rules of road, it’s still important to talk about obeying all traffic laws. Stress the importance of following speed limits, coming to a complete stop at intersections and staying a safe distance behind other vehicles. Remind them that they are responsible for their passenger’s safety and how risky behavior jeopardizes the people around them.
4. When Things Go Wrong
Your teen may think they have mastered driving, but they simply haven’t had the experience you have had behind the wheel. Let them know what to do in case they are pulled over, get in an accident, have a flat tire, the car won’t start or they run out of gas. Having a plan to follow in these situations will help alleviate panic and give them confidence in the event anything unfortunate happens. Read more here: http://kidshealth.org/teen/
Knowledge is empowering, so talk to your teen driver about what it means to drive defensively. Defensive driving is defined as driving to save lives, time and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others. These driving skills allow you to defend yourself against possible collisions caused by bad drivers, drunk drivers, and poor weather. Let your teen driver know the importance of scanning for possible hazards and planning ahead. The State of Michigan even offers an 8 hour Defensive Driving Course for teens to help teach them these skills.
6. Vehicle Responsibility
Just as a driver is responsible for their passengers, they are equally responsible for preventing damage or theft to the vehicle they are driving. Talk to your young driver about locking the vehicle doors and removing items from sight that may tempt thieves.
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