Your Teen and the Road: Are You Prepared?

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Talk to your teens about safe driving early and often, before they reach driving age.

You’ve spent years protecting your children, but now you’re handing them the car keys. You and your teenager are facing a whole new world of dangers. Read on for how you can help shape your teen into a safe and capable driver.

The Facts

There’s no getting around it. Your teen sees a driver’s license as one step closer to freedom, and with that comes great responsibility. It also comes with great risk. 

Teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes; in fact it’s the leading cause of teen deaths in the nation. They speed, they make mistakes, and they get distracted easily. Add advancing technology, such as touchscreen dashboards, Bluetooth voice and texting, handheld mobile devices to immaturity, lack of skill and experience on the road, and one thing becomes certain: teen driving-related deaths will continue to rise if we do not teach our children that their lives are more important than viewing a Snapchat.

Check out these statistics from the Center for Disease Control:

  • 50% of teens said they “feel addicted” to their mobile devices.
  • 16 to 19 year-olds are 3 times as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash as any other age group.
  • 60% of all teen accidents were caused by distractions at the time of the incident.
  • Those numbers are considerable when compared to adult distracted drivers. So, what can you do to better prepare your teen for the road?

Parental Influence

Here's how to get started on shaping your teen into a safe and capable driver:

  • Start the Conversation Early: Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 18-year-olds in the United States. Talk to your teens about safe driving early and often, before they reach driving age.
  • Set the Standard: Talking is important, but action is even better. Show your kids safe driving behavior. Start by modeling good habits every time you drive them anywhere, even before they begin to drive. Make sure you are turning off your cell phone and stowing it away, and buckling your seat belt before starting your car.
  • Get It In Writing: When your teenagers begin driving, we recommend you set ground rules and outline the consequences for breaking them in a parent-teen contract like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Parent-Teen Driving Contract. Consider hanging your contract by the family car keys or near the front door.
  • Spell Out the Rules: No cell phones, no speeding, no alcohol, no driving when tired, and always buckle up. These rules could help save your teen’s life.
Working with your teen to outline hazards and positive driving behaviors, you are helping to mold your teen into a capable, responsible driver! For more tips on how to encourage your teen to follow your rules and the rules of the road, visit the Department of Transportation’s Safe Driving Tips for Teenage Drivers

This information is intended for educational purposes only and is not legal advice and/or an authoritative guide.

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