Motor vehicle crashes kill more teenagers than all other major causes combined. Texting and driving is killing more teens than drinking and driving.
You are the key. Parents are the most important influence on teen drivers. 66 percent of teens say their parents influence their cell phone use in the car, more than the law. Parents who set rules and monitor their teen’s driving behavior in a supportive way can cut their crash risk in half. [www.teendriversource.org/more_pages/page/why_parents_matter/support_parents]
Distraction from teen passengers and cell phones are proven causes of fatal crashes. 3 out of 4 serious teen driver crashes are due to a critical driving error. The most common errors are:
TALK TO YOUR TEEN
Discuss what activities are distractions and how to reduce and eliminate them. Talk about the right mindset for driving—what you should be focused on. Teach critical driving skills; how to scan around you and think ahead.
Log lots of practice driving together. During practice driving sessions, have your teen get ready before the key is turned. Choose the radio station, playlist or CD before starting the car. Put the phone out of sight and reach. Make sure all objects are secure and where they need to be. Find the sunglasses. Adjust the heat or air. Know the destination and have the route firmly in mind.
Emphasize safety, not control. Listen to your teen. How you approach the rules for your teen’s driving privileges makes all the difference in their attitude and willingness. Your concerns are based on fact—to help your son or daughter become a smart and responsible driver worthy to be on public roads.
TALK ABOUT DISTRACTION PREVENTION FROM THE BEGINNING—PRE-DRIVERS
SET A GOOD EXAMPLE—SHOW YOUR CODE FOR THE ROAD
From the get-go, use the safe driving practices you want your children to have. Don’t talk, text, eat, or do other activities while you are driving. Don’t speed. Demonstrate how to be alert and focused.
DELIVER CONSEQUENCES—AND REWARDS
Driving a vehicle is freedom…and responsibility. If rules aren’t followed, then you have to follow through with reasonable punishment, even if it means taking away the car keys. Likewise, when your teen shows responsible behavior and follows the rules, respond with rewards and praise.
GIVE THEM THE CONFIDENCE TO TELL THEIR FRIENDS: DON’T DO THAT
Young people are the least likely to complain when they are riding with a driver who texts or talks on a cell phone. Talk to your teen about protecting their own safety—ask the driver to put the phone down. Teach them never to ride with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. Remind them that being a good passenger is smart for their sake and their friends.
ENCOURAGE YOUR TEEN DRIVER TO SET THEIR OWN RULES AND EARN RESPECT
Consider installing a monitoring device in your teen’s car. Some insurance companies offer these along with a discount. Support for parents of teen drivers can be found at: