previously published on AssociatedContent.com (10.25.10)
Adolescent car crashes are responsible for approximately 3,000 lives each year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, “Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens.”
With this frightening statistic, every parent’s first instinct is to hide the keys to the family cars. However, the problem is teenagers must learn to drive defensively and attentively, so they will grow into
responsible adult drivers. Practice is the only way for them to perfect this skill.
All teenagers, or new drivers, are more prone to be in a fatal crash. Even the brightest and most responsible teens are more likely to be in an accident than a driver with experience.
It is essential to directly discuss with your teen what is safe driving behavior, and what you do not allow. You cannot have this discussion just once. This conversation must continue and be repeated, so they understand your expectations. This is not nagging, but a successful method of parenting for this developmental age group.
Stats for Your Teenager:
- Teen drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a crash than experienced drivers.
- The risk of a fatal crash increases when teens have friends in the automobile.
- Night-time crashes increase 50% for 16-year-old’s in comparison to daytime percentages.
Tips for Parents:
Increase your teenager’s supervised driving time: Even if you think your child is ready for the road, keep supervising them. Not only are they learning the physical method of driving a vehicle, but mentally they may have issues with not knowing the roads and town like you may assume they know.
Hold your child back: If you don’t think your child is ready to be a safe driver, you should hold them back from getting behind the wheel. Parents can decide when their children are responsible enough to maneuver these dangerous vehicles. Plus, the more accidents for these young adults, the higher insurance premiums to deal with for YEARS to come.
Adolescents aren’t the best defensive drivers: This is a time where teen’s brains aren’t capable seeing consequences for their actions. Some may be dare devils and think nothing can harm them. They also may assume that every other vehicle will stay out of their way. Very dangerous combination on the road.
“House rules” of the road: You need to be clear with your teen driver on the “house rules” of the road. These are the family rules, not the state troopers. (i.e. no cell phone usage or texting while driving, only one other friend may be in the car when on the road, limit time on the highways to non-rush hour periods, no drinking, drugs, etc….)
A parent/teen contract: These documents can be effective for many families. Some insurance companies and auto clubs have clearly written agreements between parent and child on what is allowed behind the wheel.