Car accidents involving teenagers have been the leading cause of teen deaths for several years. The alarming statistics for teenage car accidents have shown the dangers of teen driving. It is becoming more important for parents to take an active role in preventing teen driving accidents.
Here are 6 ways that could save your kids:
1. Gradually Increase Their Driving Experience
Almost half of the car accidents involving teenagers are single vehicle crashes. This means most teen car accidents happen because the teenagers simply made bad driving judgments.
One of the major causes of teenage car accidents is inexperience.
Learning the manual skills of driving is easy. Understanding how to deal with different driving conditions and scenarios is where most teenage drivers have difficulties.
Solve this problem by taking the time to gradually build your teenage drivers experience with real world driving conditions.
For example, take your teenage drivers out for a drive in different weather conditions. See how they handle driving in more challenging situations.
When I got my driver’s license, during winter my dad would make me drive in snowy weather. He wanted to see if I could handle driving on icy roads. A few times, our car skid and my dad told me how I should turn in the direction of the skid to recover.
My dad gradually worked in other scenarios like night time driving and driving on the fast lanes on the highway.
By gradually exposing me to real world driving conditions I felt more relaxed and knew I was prepared to handle more difficult driving situations.
2. Talk about effects of alcohol.
Sadly, a lot of car accidents involving teenagers include alcohol. Almost 60% of fatal teen car crashes are because of drunk driving accidents.
Explain to your teenage drivers how alcohol impairs the driver’s judgment and slows down their reaction time.
Here is one memorable example my dad always told me.
Let’s say you are driving 60 mph. This means that your car is moving at 1 mile a minute. There are 5,280 feet in a mile. Therefore, you are driving at almost 90 ft/sec (5280 ft/ 60 seconds).
So if you drink and your reaction time is delayed by even a second, you car will have traveled the distance of a street block before you realize what to do.
That much distance covered without any reaction could be the difference between life and death for your teenager drivers or someone else.
Give your teenage drivers drunk driving facts so that they can make safer choices to prevent auto crashes.
3. Encourage the use of seat belts.
Your teenage drivers are the least likely to wear a seat belt.
It’s a simple way to prevent severe car accident injuries but most teen drivers just don’t like using seat belts.
So this is more of a reason for you to stress the importance of using seat belts.
Using seat belts is just a habit. Once you emphasize this enough times it will sink in.
My dad always told me to put on my seatbelt. He did this so many times that eventually it became an ingrained habit. Now, when I get in my car, I sometimes don’t even recall putting on my seatbelt.
Also, make sure your teenage drivers put their seat belts on BEFORE they start the car so they don’t forget. A lot of teens say they intend to put on their seat belts after they start their car but simply forget once they are already driving.
4. Reduce the number of passengers in car
Statistics have shown time and time again that the number of car accidents involving teenagers increase with each additional passenger.
However, your teenage drivers are very eager to drive around with their friends.
It is important, especially in the beginning, that you limit the number of passengers with your teenage drivers.
Start with limiting them to 2 or 3 passengers. Let them get comfortable driving with other people and then adjust the number if you feel they can handle more passengers.
This is a good compromise since your teen can still drive with their friends and you can stop worrying about your teenage drivers being distracted by too many passengers.
5. Limit using cell phones while driving
A lot of car accidents involving teenagers are because of unnecessary distractions like cell phones.
Teenager drivers tend to be overconfident in their driving skills. Most kids think that talking or texting on their cell phone while driving is really no big deal.
However, besides the fact that it is illegal in many states, driving with a cell phone creates another diversion and increases their chance of being in car accidents.
Teenagers want to be on their cell phones all the time. Stop them from using their cell phones so frequently by reducing the amount of minutes and text messages allowed in their cell phone plan.
This way your teenagers will be more cautious about using up all their free minutes when they are driving. They will want to save those minutes for when they are at their friend’s house or hanging out at the mall.
6. Be a Good Driving Role Model
Every tip I told you to prevent car accidents involving teenagers is useless unless you are willing to set a good example for your teenage drivers.
Think about it. If you tell me to start slowing down on the highway or start wearing seat belts but I know you don’t do either of these things, why would I listen to you?
Don’t send mixed signals to your teenage drivers by asking them to drive one way and you driving another.
Preaching “Do as I say, not as I do” rarely works with teenagers.
Your teenage drivers need any excuse not to listen to you. Don’t give them one.
Car accidents involving teenagers has been a serious issue for many years. If you want to prevent teenage deaths you need to start being more active.
Teaching your teenage drivers how to drive was your first responsibility. Your next task is to stress safety.
If you follow these steps you will certainly reduce the chances of your teenage driver being in a car accident.
Learn how you can motivate your teenage driver to be safe.