Four Tips to Ensure That Your Teen Learns the Right Driving Skills and Stays Safe on The Road

By | June 14, 2016

Safe teen driving will ensure that thousands of youngsters do not lose their lives in mindless crashes, which occur with sickening regularity every year. Each life lost on the road is not merely a statistic, but is a traumatic blow to the loved ones who have to live with the tragedy, and remember the loss every day.

Why is Teen Driving so Dangerous, Unpredictable, and Risky?

Experts attribute this primarily to the still-developing brain of your teen son or daughter, which is not fully capable of assessing risks and dangers, and has a high risk-taking tendency. Over-confidence and lack of experience combine to blur the teens’ judgment, leading to risky behavior like tailgating and speeding. California Lemon Lawyer routinely deal with cases involving teens, and are of the opinion that parents take into consideration the unique personality and temperament of their child before deciding whether they are ready to drive.

A majority of teenagers follow their parents’ driving behavior, so teen driving tendencies can be remarkably improved if you set a good example for them. Here are a few tips for you, as parents, to decrease and negate the dangers of driving that are so typical of teens.

Choose a Safe Car

It is very important that you choose a safe car for your teen.

Safe cars that are recommended by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have moderately powerful engines and good performance in crash tests. It is advised that you do not buy a high-performance vehicle, where the advertising promotes speeding and risky behavior. Teenagers will be tempted to test the limits of the beast of an engine, putting theirs, as well as many others’, lives in danger. Bigger and heavier vehicles are considered safer because they are more balanced and are much sturdier than small and light cars. Trucks and SUVs are not recommended for teens, due to the difficulty in maneuvering.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a must-have safety feature, because it helps the driver maintain control on slippery roads and while turning curves. It has resulted in drastic reduction in car accidents, and is a mandatory feature in all cars made after 2012. Old and used cars may be lacking in safety features like ESC and side air bags, so ensure that when you get a car for your teen, safety is on top of your mind rather that cost.

Check the performance ratings of your chosen vehicle in moderate overlap front, roof safety, side crash, and head restraint tests conducted by IIHS or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Instill Safe Driving Behavior

Seat belts can make a difference between life and death, so drill the importance of staying buckled up into your teen.

Seat belts reduce traumatic injuries and deaths by almost half, but amongst all groups of drivers, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. According to a survey in 2012, 55 percent of young adults involved in fatal crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

As a parent you should set a good example and follow basic safety rules while behind the wheel. Always wear safety belts, and do not use your phone while driving. Do not resort to speeding, no matter what the reason. A responsible parent will prove to be the  right role model for a new driver.

Speak About the Dangers of Drinking and Driving

Drinking and driving is illegal, and can result in heavy fines – and even suspension of the driving license. Under-age drinking is illegal because even a small amount of alcohol in the blood can have a magnified effect on teen brains. Reasoning and the ability to think logically get seriously impaired, increasing the probability of a crash by several times. According to a 2013 NHTSA report, more than a quarter of car crashes involving teens had an underage drinking driver.

Set strict rules and have it in writing that if you find your teen drinking and driving, or had friends who were drunk in the car, he or she will be grounded and the car will be confiscated. The possibility of losing their driving privileges will do more than needed to keep your teen responsible behind the wheel.

Drugs also pose a real danger to teen drivers, and you should strictly prohibit your child from ever trying them and then driving.

Drugs cloud teen minds, and cause them to be more reckless than when they are sober. Sober teens are themselves prone to errors in judgment when driving; combine this with drugs, like marijuana, and the results can be catastrophic. In 2013, a study reported that 9.9 million people aged 12 and above admitted to driving while under the influence of illegal drugs.

Counsel your teen about the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and ensure that he or she is well aware of the consequences.

Enroll Your Teen in a Graduated Drivers License Program

A Graduated Drivers License Program (GDLP) ensures that teen drivers are introduced into the driving population at a slow speed.

A teen driver has to first pass a qualifying test to earn a learners’ permit. The driver should only drive under the supervision of an accompanying adult, and must complete a minimum period or certain number of hours of driving sessions. The teen can then apply for an intermediate license. There is no supervision required, but certain restrictions – such as a curfew and limits to the number of allowed passengers – remain.

After successfully completing a stipulated period, the driver is then qualified for a full-privileged and unrestricted driving license.

The slow and graduated progress into full-time driving ensures that teen drivers gain experience and acquire risk-assessment abilities to drive safely.

Help Your Teen by Being Proactive about Driving

Teen driving cannot be made fully error-free, but with enough precautions and experience, a novice driver will be able to drive safely without getting involved in any major accidents by their own doing. Parents’ role in helping a teen build relevant driving skills can never be emphasized enough. Invest time and effort, and always be aware of your child’s driving habits to guide him or her through the initial years.

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