Teen Driver Safety
Improved Safety for Teen Drivers
For parents, few things are scarier than the day we hand over the car keys to our teenager. Their new freedom combined with our loss of control and paranoia that every driver on the road is incompetent and an active threat to our child is the perfect recipe for prescription blood pressure medication! Emotions and worry are certainly running high when there’s a new driver in the house! Though we can’t always physically be in the car with our teens, we can take steps to ensure their safety each and every time they’re behind the wheel.
• Preparation: Give your new driver plenty of opportunities and guidance before giving him the keys. All states have Graduated Driver Licensing programs that ensure new drivers have ample practice before earning their license. These programs also enforce restrictions for their driving afterward.
• Seatbelts: Wear them. All the time. Period.
• Limit passengers: Statistics show teenagers driving teenagers is not a good idea; in fact, it increases the likelihood of an accident. At least in the beginning, your new driver shouldn’t be acting as the Uber for her friends.
• No driving when distracted or drowsy: I don’t need statistics to prove distracted driving is dangerous, but unfortunately, the lure of the cell phone sometimes blots out common sense even for experienced drivers. Cell phones are simply off-limits when behind the wheel, and make sure your teen driving while drowsy, either. Both kinds of distractions have been met with fatal results over and over again. Mom and dad should still be on party or sports pick-ups for a while, especially if they’re at night.
• Absolutely no driving under the influence: Peer pressure can impact our teens’ otherwise smart decisions. When given a choice to experiment with drugs and alcohol, some don’t choose wisely, which is bad enough, but combining that bad decision with driving can turn a mistake into a fatality. Make sure your drivers know they can call you at absolutely any time if they end up in a situation that renders them unable to drive.
• Try to spy: Use an app like Bouncie to track your kid’s driving. Customized data like their speed, distance driven, and location will be sent right to your smart phone providing instant peace of mind. Or reason to take away those keys!
Solidarity, parents; this is a scary time for all of us. Watching our little birds leave the nest is both exciting and terrifying, but as with most things in life, preparation can make the difference between floundering and flourishing.