If you’re a parent, the idea of your young kids driving on their own can be scary, but you have to let them learn sooner or later. Making sure your teenager is safe on the road is important, and the best way you can do that is by teaching them the rules and giving them advice.
Although Driver’s Ed teaches all the important rules like the importance of safety belts, some things need to be emphasized for teenagers to realize why they matter. For example, it is important to always be vigilant on the road – driver fatigue is the cause of roughly 30% of commercial truck accidents. Sure, your teen won’t likely be getting behind the wheel of a commercial truck anytime soon, but they’ll share the road with many.
Whether you’re parenting teenagers or are a teen hoping to drive around on your own soon, here are three tips that will make sure safety is always at the forefront on busy roads.
Leave Your Phone Alone While Driving
We all know that teenagers seem to be glued to their phones these days — when they’re not watching TikTok videos, they’re Snapchatting with friends. While it’s good to be social, your phone should not be near your hands when you’re driving. Distractions, while you are behind the wheel, can lead to an accident, and it only takes a second of being distracted to lose control of a car or hit someone or something. Texting and driving is extremely dangerous, the chances of an accident when the driver takes their eyes off the road is increased by 400%!
This counts for talking on the phone as well, even when using the loudspeaker feature or Bluetooth earpieces. Cellphone usage can reduce a driver’s attention by more than 36%. If you have to take a call or read a message, only do so when you’re able to pull over your car. If the safety risk isn’t enough to deter your teen, remind them about DOT Blitz, the CVSA International Roadcheck week. This is a 72-hour inspection blitz in North America, Mexico, and Canada to help make sure that vehicles and drivers are operating safely.
Don’t Touch The Radio
One of the main reasons teenagers are excited about driving without their parents is that they get to listen to whatever music they want, and listen to it very loudly. However, focusing on the radio too much can be dangerous. Teach your teen to leave the radio controls alone while they’re driving. It can be tempting to skip a song they don’t like, but just a second of looking away from the road can have fatal consequences.
Having the radio on too loud is also a bad idea. Not only will you be driving distracted due to the noise, but you’ll also have a harder time hearing warnings like the horn of another car or the sound of an ambulance.
Only Drive Friends Around When You’re Truly Comfortable
It can be exciting to think about driving around with their friends, but your teenager should only do that once they’re really comfortable driving around by themselves. They should take time to get used to the car’s controls, driving rules, and road signs before they let in any passengers. More people in the car (especially loud teenagers) can be a distraction, so the driver needs to be comfortable with the driving processes and habits before they can safely drive around.
Driving can be fun, but it’s dangerous if not taken seriously. As a parent, you should encourage your kids’ love of the road, but also remind them about its dangers. Make sure they also take good care of the car and everything around it as well. Your driveway can last up to 20 years untouched if it’s treated well. As a teen, remember that with great power comes great responsibility!