Talk To Your Teen About Driving Habits

During a recent visit to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicle, I noticed several teenagers waiting to take their driving test. The four students I saw during my hour and a half visit all passed and received their driver's license. What really stuck out was how young they appeared. They obviously were of age, but two of the females were quite tiny in size. I wondered if they were tall enough to see over the steering wheel.

The leading cause of teen deaths in the United States is car crashes. Five thousand teens between the ages of 16 -20 will die annually due to car accidents. Another 400,000 drivers in the same age bracket will suffer serious injuries. The risk of teen drivers getting into a car accident are about 4 times more likely to crash for each mile driven than other drivers.

Of the $26 billion dollar cost of car accidents in the U.S., drivers under the age of 24 account for 30% of that cost. It seems obvious that the two main factors contributing to these statistics are immaturity and lack of experience. Night driving and other teen passengers also contribute to the risk of accidents. So what do you do as a parent to keep your young drivers safe?

School budgets are being cut along with every other business, which usually affects the elective classes. Driver's Education for teens has been cut from elective courses in some schools but if your young drivers school offers it, sign them up. Instruction coming from someone other than a parent if often absorbed with less resistance.

Review safety tips and set rules for using the family car or their own car, if they're lucky enough to have one.

  • Driver and all passengers should always wear their seat belt - no exceptions.
  • Take the time to adjust the headrest to the height behind your head, not your neck, to minimize whiplash if you're in an accident.
  • Adhere to the front passenger air bag warning and do not put small children in the front.
  • Do not allow more passengers in the car than you have seat belts.

For more safety tips visit the motor vehicle website that will benefit your teen driver.

It is found that friends are less likely to tell a driver if they feel uncomfortable as a result of their driving skill or habits for fear that they will be ridiculed. A PSA was developed a few years ago to encourage teens to 'Speak Up'.

Speak to your kids about driving with others. Agree that they can call you if they feel uncomfortable in someone else's car and need you to pick them up. It could be the driver's habits, lack of experience or consuming alcohol while driving that causes them to become uncomfortable. Knowing they can make that call without backlash could save their life.

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