The junction is coming soon. Your teen will take the wheel and press the gas on your anxiety level. Rather than seen as a speed bump regarding your teen’s ride toward maturity and added responsibility, teach them to drive safer and smarter before they get behind the wheel.
It Starts Now
Begin teaching your aspiring driver now. Discuss strategies for driving at night versus day, in cities versus rural roads, and with others in the car versus driving alone. Safety is a way of life and kids are never too young to start thinking about making the right decisions. Risk of accident is highest during a teen’s first years behind the wheel. Lessen the likelihood your teen will be a statistic by talking about driving safely, visiting online resources, and investing in driving lessons now.
Driving with Teens
The risk of accident increases when teens drive with other teens. A new driver is safer when limiting the number of times driving with pals. Consider monitoring and putting a limit on times your teen can drive with or pick up friends. While it may seem “mean” or strict, statistics show it’s safer to have a teen prove their ability to drive safely before cruising with friends becomes commonplace.
More crashes occur at night, and all age groups are susceptible, yet teens are most likely to get in accidents after nightfall. As a parent, you can lessen the likelihood of your teen getting in an accident by limiting their time on the road at night. It’s more difficult to see signs, pedestrians, bicyclists, and sudden moves of other motorists after dusk.
Wear a Seatbelt
Seatbelts reduce your teen’s chance of injury or death by about half. While some car models have automated belts or reoccurring chimes to remind passengers to fasten belts, teach your teen to put on theirs before starting the engine. That goes for all passengers during every trip, whether an hour ride or five-minute drive to the store. The chance of accidents is higher in one’s own city and neighborhood due to the frequency of access. One of the greatest ways to prevent a car injury takes minimal effort and a few seconds of time; teach teens to buckle up or give up the keys.
Put the Phone Down
Ironically, early car phones, once thought to be great safety gadgets, allowed motorists to call for help or tow services when in need. However, the explosion of the technology, the Internet, and handheld devices creates a perfect storm of added distraction for teen drivers. Distracted driving entails talking in the car with others, playing with the radio, and paying attention to sights rather than the road in front, but recently smart phones are a top concern. Remind your teen to leave talking, texting, and fidgeting with the phone for later. No text is worth their life or an avoidable accident dealt with by a Dallas personal injury attorney.
Stay Awake and Alert
Teens have busy schedules, some juggling sports practice, jobs, and tending to younger siblings along with schoolwork. A changing body, busy schedule, and a load of responsibility is enough to make anyone sleepy. Teens place themselves in added danger when driving drowsy during early morning and late night hours. Teach your teen to be responsible for their actions, which involves knowing when they’re too tired to drive.
You’re Only Young Once
YOLO or you’re only young once is a mantra of the millenials, and while a carpe diem philosophy is admirable, doing stupid things is not. Reckless driving includes speeding, aggressive driving, and a level of immaturity found in new, teen drivers. Reckless driving is a result of poor judgment, and unfortunately, some immediate decisions have long-term repercussions, whether it’s owing money from an accident, recovering from an injury, or dealing with the guilt of killing a passenger.
Don’t Drive Impaired…Ever
Depending on other factors, it’s “okay” for adults to operate a vehicle with limited traces of alcohol in their system. For teens, those not allowed to consume alcohol at any time, it’s never okay to operate a vehicle while under the influence. Good habits start at an early age. Remind teen drivers that driving while drinking is never “okay.” While some teens demand independence of thought and freedom of action, those on the road deserve safety and the right to see their families again. Those who drive impaired risk losing their license or worse, and one drink is enough to ruin an entire life.
Guest Blogger: Regis and Shane Mullen are a father and son legal team and are the principals of the Mullen & Mullen law firm. Mullen & Mullen have been serving Dallas with top rate legal advice and representation for over 20 years. Regis Mullen has a unique perspective on cases having worked on both sides of personal injury claims. Prior to practicing law, Regis worked as a claims adjuster and litigation supervisor for major insurance companies.