Learning to drive is an exciting milestone in a teen’s life that brings them one step closer to adulthood. But some teens are gravely underestimating the driving risks that can lead to life-threatening accidents.
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 15 to 18. Sixteen-year-olds have the highest crash rate across all driving age groups in the United States, with 1 in 5 getting into a serious accident within their first year of driving.
Today marks the beginning of National Teen Driving Safety Week. Regardless of whether your teen has had their license for years or is just beginning to drive, now is the perfect time to see what they know about road safety and how to improve their driving skills to reduce accidents.
Getting Involved Makes A Difference
Parents have more input on their teen’s driving behaviors than they think. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.), parents can be the number one ally or the number one threat to the success of their teen driver on the road.
At least 56 percent of teens learn to drive from their parents, but this doesn’t include the indirect lessons they get at an early age. Every time you are in the car with your child, they are learning how to drive. If you text and drive, eat and drive, or frequently blast the music in the car, your teen driver will remember these actions as acceptable things to do behind the wheel.
Talking with your teen about safe driving behaviors is the best first step to seeing how much they know about the dangers of the road. Starting a conversation is not always easy, but these suggestions may help get you on the right track to protecting your teen behind the wheel.
Know The Facts
An average of six teen drivers die every day from crash-related injuries. This statistic is enough to make any parent worry. But how do you get your teen driver to share the same concern?
Reviewing these crash stats from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is a perfect way to find out what they already know about the dangers of the road. It can help spark a conservation about what they perceive to be dangers or their misconceptions about certain reckless driving behaviors:
Review The Eight Danger Zones
Knowing how to prevent motor vehicle accidents starts with understanding how they occur. The C.D.C. highlights eight driving danger zones that lead to fatal accidents involving teen drivers that parents should review at home:
Be A Role Model
Remember, your teens are watching. If you have identified any of the eight danger zones as behaviors you are currently doing behind the wheel, stop. No matter how young your children are, they are always learning from you. Be a good driving role model to encourage safe driving behaviors from the very beginning.
Create A Parent-Teen Driving Agreement
Hold your teen accountable for their pledge to drive safely on the road. Parents can create a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement to lay out all of the house rules for both parties to understand and agree on before your teen is allowed to drive. These rules can include anything from:
To download a complete Parent-Teen Driving Agreement, you can find one here!
Share Your Knowledge
Driving has changed significantly over the years, and parents may feel lost when it comes to addressing the topic with their teens. Thankfully, there are several different avenues parents can take to gather and share helpful information to protect their teens on the road, including:
For additional resources to help you discuss safe driving with your teen, the C.D.C. Parent Resource Page is full of helpful information.
Remember, driving is a privilege that can turn deadly when things go wrong. If your teen is not committed to driving safely on the road, take the keys away until they are.
Connecticut Car Accident Attorneys
Connecticut drivers have a responsibility to keep everyone safe on the road. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident due to the negligent acts of someone else, you may be eligible to receive compensation for any damages suffered. Contact our expert team of personal injury attorneys at Jacobs & Wallace for a free consultation to explore your options.