Student Driver Sign

Driving is one of the most popular daily activities we all do, and it usually begins while you’re an adolescent. Many adolescent drivers, and even adults, develop a driving addiction, and it’s easy to see why. Going on road trips with your automobile and friends, or even better, alone with your thoughts, builds an addiction that is tough to break free from. Once that comfort sets in, vanity takes over, and you put safety on the back burner in favor of the attractive appearance and feel that the rolling 3,000 lb. box provides!

We’ve seen how far technology has progressed in terms of modern car safety measures, and they’re fantastic. When it comes adolescent drivers, however, they’re not so great. The best thing you can do for adolescent drivers is force them to pick up on the tiniest details, forcing them to turn around and look rather than relying on a beep or a casual glance at the rearview camera. Make sure they understand how to adjust the side and rearview mirrors. Have them change the spare tire, or if the car does not have one, make them take the vehicle’s tire off and on as many times as necessary to get it correctly. Make them responsible for detecting unusual odors and sounds.

Teenagers who are passengers or who are driving with friends stand a greater risk of injury than teens who are driving alone. When teens learn to drive, their teen friends are likely to learn as well, so your teen is likely to be a passenger in a car driven by someone with little expertise at some point. Sadly, more than half of minors who die in automobile accidents are not behind the wheel, and riding with a juvenile driver increases the risk of a fatal accident significantly.

Limiting distractions, respecting the driver, and always wearing a seat belt will help reduce this risk for teen passengers. Here are six short ways to help your teen learn to be safe passengers:

Talk about how to be a safe passenger.

Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents, and passenger distractions are especially risky for inexperienced drivers. Discuss beneficial passenger behaviors including reading directions when asked and respecting the driver by not talking loudly, texting, listening to loud music, or being disruptively.

Insist on seat belts.

Most adolescent passengers killed in car accidents are not wearing seat belts. Explain that by fastening their seatbelts, they will be helping to safeguard their friends’ as well as their own lives. In the event of a collision, an unrestrained body can cause harm to others in the vehicle.

Don’t let your child ride with a driver who has less than a year of experience.

The majority of teen car accidents are caused by beginner mistakes. Even the most mature adolescent requires adult supervision to obtain driving experience. This includes preventing your teen from driving their siblings for the first six months, as siblings can be more distracting than peers.

Pay attention.

Keep the lines of communication open to assist them in making appropriate safety decisions. Know where they’re going and why they’re going and talk about how they’ll get there and when they’ll come back. Provide alternatives, such as rides, so they can avoid dangerous driving situations.

Create a code word.

Allow kids to call or text you with a previously agreed-upon code word that indicates danger to help them get out of dangerous circumstances. Pick up the term as soon as you hear or see it.

Lead by example.

Always fasten your seatbelt. While driving, don’t talk on the phone or text. Don’t go too fast. Observe the traffic laws.