With the warm months of spring approaching, more people than ever will be hitting the road to escape the confines of winter weather. If you have a teen driver hitting the road this spring, the rising number of drivers on the road can make the experience increasingly dangerous for young drivers.
The month of May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month — a great time to revisit the proper driving behaviors and techniques that will keep your teen driver safe on the road this spring and beyond. To help teens prepare for a fun and safe driving season, here are seven tips to keep them safe on the road.
1. Catch Up On Vehicle Care & Maintenance
May is a great time to revisit the steps of routine care maintenance. After a vehicle has made it through the rough winter season, a teen’s vehicle may require a bit of TLC to ensure that it is road-ready. Help them through the steps of checking fluids, lights, and checking for anything amiss in their vehicle while it is running. Additionally, teens should know how to check their oil and tire health as part of routine maintenance.
2. Take a Look at Their Ride
May is also the perfect time to check out the vehicle your teen is driving. Is it road-worthy? You will want to make sure that the vehicle is updated and is safe for your teen driver to hit the road without fear of faulty seat belts, outdated airbags, or a dead air-conditioner.
3. Remind Them of the Dangers of Drinking and Driving
The conversation about drinking and driving is always important to revisit. As the weather warms up, it is more likely that teens will be traveling with friends — and potentially enjoying time at parties. Remind them of the dangers of driving while intoxicated.
According to CDC statistics, underage drivers are 17% more likely to be involved in a fatal vehicle crash due to alcohol. Don’t let your teenager risk becoming a statistic.
4. Always Wear A Seatbelt
While this may seem obvious, more teen drivers than ever are skipping the seat belt for what feels like “comfort and convenience.” Make sure your teen knows the dangers of driving without a seatbelt — even in minor accidents.
5. Don’t Drive While Distracted
Outside of drinking while under the influence and without seatbelts, distracted driving is quickly becoming the main reason teens are involved in accidents.
The need to stay on their smartphones to avoid “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) leads to increasingly dangerous driving habits. In fact, studies have shown that driving while distracted triples the likelihood of a dangerous or life-threatening accident.
6. Remind Them of the Dangers of Speeding
The overwhelming cause of vehicle accidents involving teen drivers is speeding. From 2015 to 2019, over 15,000 teen drivers lost their lives to accidents related to driving recklessly and at high speeds.
7. Drive Safely with Passengers
According to statistics from a study in The Atlantic, male drivers are more likely to be involved in aggressive driving accidents. Female drivers are often distracted when in accidents. The connection? Distracted driving. While female drivers are more likely to be distracted by conversation in the vehicle, male drivers often report trying to “show off” to their passengers with dangerous driving. Understanding the risks of driving dangerously with passengers can help teen drivers avoid making deadly mistakes.
How Parents & Guardians Can Lead the Way
As a teen’s parent or guardian, one of the best ways to ensure that your student driver practices safe driving is to lead by example.
As the primary caregiver, your role is to set the standard by which your teen will seek to emulate. By investing in the time to help your teen learn safe driving — and practicing what you preach — you can help them avoid making mistakes that may cost them everything.
Wondering how you can make an impact on your teen’s spring driving behavior? Here are a few ways you can lead the way this year:
Set the right example as you drive
Model the right type of driving behavior and attitude as you drive your teen around town. If you do it, they are more likely to follow your example.
Have your teen take part in a defensive driving course
There are many defensive driving courses available that aim to educate teen drivers on how to drive with a defensive posture, which will reduce the risk of them being involved in accidents caused by negligence. There are also unique Graduated Drivers License programs that will teach advanced driving techniques to help your student drive with confidence.
Check whether your insurance company offers a “safe driver” program.
Many insurance companies offer a “safe driver” program that benefits drivers who are not involved in at-fault accidents or receive tickets. If your teen driver is required to help pay insurance costs, this can be a great way to encourage safe driving.
Sign A Parent-Teen Driving Contract
Want to help encourage your teen driver to drive safely? Sign a Parent-Teen Driver Contract that lays out expectations for driving and the consequences that will occur should the contract be broken. This is a great way to encourage the idea that driving is a privilege - not a right.
Make May a Safe Driving Month for Your Teen Driver
With automobile accidents holding strong as the leading cause of death for those under 18, it is more important than ever to ensure that your teen driver understands how to drive safely this Spring.
Before you let your student driver hit the road this spring, make sure to work with them to take precautions against negligence and dangerous behavior. To help you make this process a routine, make the month of May a yearly time to work through safe driving tips and techniques.
Teen drivers face a variety of temptations that can lead to poor decision-making. Help them avoid the life-changing consequences of bad driving by spending time walking your student through these tips for safe driving.
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