All parents want to keep their children safe no matter how young or old they are. When children mature into teenagers they are presented with new dangers, as parents it’s our job to stay informed so that we can encourage our children to make good decisions- especially behind the wheel. If you have a young driver at home consider the following:
- As a parent, you have the greatest influence over your teen’s behavior. Set a good example. Never drive recklessly, under the influence or in a distracted state.
- Talk with your teen about safe driving techniques and take a course together.
- Practice driving as often as you can with your teen. The more experience he or she has, the safer they will drive.
- Teach them to drive distraction free. Even though texting while driving is illegal in New York, a AAA Traffic Safety study found state laws banning texting while driving do little to decrease the behavior amongst teens.
- Be sure that your teen knows what ‘distraction free’ means. People often assume distracted driving strictly refers to texting while driving- but that’s not the case. Having friends in the car, using navigation, blasting music, and day dreaming are all examples of potentially dangerous distractions.
- Teach them to always wear a seatbelt and obey the rules of the road. Make sure they know the consequences for breaking these rules.
- Be sure they know it’s extremely dangerous to drive impaired and to ride in a car with a driver who is impaired. According to the National Safety Council, roughly one third of recent high school graduates have ridden in a car with an impaired driver. A Colorado State University study also found riding with an impaired driver increased the likelihood that the passenger will drive impaired in the future.
Parents are the primary influence on their teens. Parents who are actively involved in molding their teens into safe drivers not only reduce the risk of their children being hurt or killed in a car crash, but also reduce the risk of other motorists/pedestrians being hurt or killed.