We all love and adore our cars. But what do we love and adore even more? Our children. The first time your teen gets behind the wheel is a huge step forward, as well as a giant leap towards independence. Exciting and thrilling as it may be, getting behind the wheel of a vehicle is one of the riskiest things we can do, especially during those first six months of learning to drive. According to CDC.gov research and data report, “In 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.” That translates to 6 teen deaths every day on average, from motor vehicle injuries. Get the report here https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html
Here are a few reminders we hope you find beneficial as we enter the busiest and often unpredictable time of year.
Hitting the Highway: Having a Heart to Heart
Before your pride and joy begins their adventure into adulthood on the wide-open road, you may want to have a sit down and discuss the privilege of driving. Start by touching base on the ground rules; alcohol, cell phone use, filling the gas tank, following the speed limit, and the wearing of seatbelts.
Practice what you Preach: The Cell Phone
Parents are the primary role models for teens. They observe, model, and mimic their parent’s behavior more than anyone else. Setting a good, distraction free driving example for your teen, is vital during the early years. Whether it be talking on the phone or fumbling with a phone call while driving, the cell phone is the biggest distraction; any driver can engage in. Remember to keep cell phones turned off, and stowed while in a moving vehicle. Especially in the first year of learning to drive. Some experts insist it takes five years of driving experience before being able to manage the small distractions new drivers may encounter while driving.
One of the most dangerous sources of distraction for teen drivers; Other Teens
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found, keeping your teen from transporting other teens, minimizes the possibility of and decreases the risk for drivers under the age of 18. Younger adults are more susceptible to distractive behavior, loud music, rowdiness, and other playful behavior that may amount to becoming hazard to the person operating the vehicle. During this crucial learning to drive time, parents may want to assign a designated person -above the age of 21 years old to sit in the passenger seat.
Before going solo: Parents who enforce restrictions reduce the risk of an accident.
Technically, your teen is old enough to drive; but at the end of the day, it is your decision to decide if your child is physically and mentally prepared to take on this huge endeavor. So before deciding to let them go solo, here are some things to consider observing:
Will your teen detect hazards and react to them properly?
Do they remain calm and level headed while driving?
How well do they observe the speed limit?
Are they consistently remembering to wear seat belt?
Are they following your parent-teen driving agreement?
You can find a Parent-Teen Driver Safety Agreement here:
Remember before things get easier they usually get harder.
Throughout this entire experience your teen will need constant reminders especially as they begin the transition driving alone. A few of the things you will want to keep on top of mind are:
What is the destination (ETA)?
What route will be taken?
How many people will be in the vehicle?
What is the returning time?
And any additional information you feel will add to the security of your teens’ over all well-being.
Don’t forget to utilize this opportunity to give your teen reminders!
Tread Wisely Mobile App: For Teens and Young Adults: http://www.rubbernews.com/article/20170526/NEWS/170529955/cooper-tire-launches-new-tread-wisely-mobile-app
Check your State’s driving content here: