You’ve held their hands, taught them their ABC’s and watched them grow into young adults. Now it’s time to take the next steps in caring for your teens – teaching them to be safe, responsible drivers. Driving lessons, professional instructors and safety courses are a great start. Today’s high-tech world, however, brings with it challenges and distractions that past generations didn’t have to deal with.
Don’t drive and selfie, for instance. The newest wave of unsafe driving behavior involves drivers taking photos of themselves while driving. According to a recent CNN article, “Young drivers snapping selfies at the wheel,” Instagram shows more than 3,727 posts under the #drivingselfie hashtag, more than 1,869 for the plural #drivingselfies, and more than 9,700 for #drivingtowork. Some users add the optimistic tag, #Ihopeidontcrash. Help your kids avoid “selfie-crashing” by pointing out the dangers of using their smart phones while in the driver seat.
Do as I do. It’s good to remember that teens (like all children) learn from example and by modeling the behavior of their parents and the adults around them. This includes driving habits. Studies have shown that novice drivers rarely have accidents when responsible adults are present in the car with them. Unfortunately you can’t always be in the passenger seat with them and eventually you’ll have to let them drive all on their own.
Don’t turn your car into your dining room. Teens have busy schedules and might look at eating while driving as a multi-tasking timesaver. According to a recent CBS story, however, experts say eating while driving can increase a motorist’s chances of a car accident by 80 percent. Much like texting, eating while driving is another type of distracted driving that can end in tragedy.
Be prepared. Even if your teen is the best of drivers, the odds of an accident are still high. With so many vehicles on the roads today, a car accident occurs on an average of about once every six seconds. According to a recent CDC study about distracted driving, more than 9 people are killed each day in the United States and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. If your teen is involved in an accident, help them be prepared with the list on our website.
Remember, by practicing, modeling responsible behavior, and establishing good driving habits together, you’ll be well on the way to setting your teen on the path toward a safer driving future.