Handing over the car keys to your adolescent child is usually one of the most anxiety-ridden experiences you will face as a parent. You are probably aware that teenage drivers account for more car accidents than any other age group, and this type of accident is the number one cause of teen deaths. In fact, based on the studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control, it has been estimated that around eleven teens die in car accidents every day in the country.
But despite the risks, you can’t keep your child from driving a vehicle for the rest of his life. Sooner or later, he will get a driver’s license and beg you to let him take the car out for a drive. With that in mind, you need to clearly establish your expectations before you hand over the car keys. By giving him a friendly reminder regarding the rules of the road, you can reduce the risk of accidents and other problems.
Rules Of The Road For Teens
You should remind your adolescent child not to multitask while driving. This means he should keep his mobile phone off to avoid texting and making phone calls while behind the wheel. You can advise your teen to pullover at a safe location if he really needs to make a call or send a text message. Make him understand the dangers of distractions while driving. Losing focus on the road- even for a mere five seconds, can lead to fatal consequences.
Always Wear Seatbelts:
This is a rather obvious reminder, but it is usually taken for granted by many teens. In fact, based on recent studies, teenagers are the least likely age group to follow seatbelt rules. To this end, you need to stress the importance of wearing them.
Obey The Speed Limit:
Your teen should be aware that speeding causes about 40% of all the fatal car collisions. This is especially true when driving in the following conditions:
- Bad weather
- Heavy traffic
- Driving on an unfamiliar road.
If he is lucky enough to avoid an accident, he might still get a traffic ticket and his license can get suspended if he is caught. You should advise your teenager against feeling pressured to keep up with the fast cars. You should remind him that driving at a safe speed is much better because it keeps him away from possible accidents and costly traffic tickets. Lastly, make sure that your child knows the speed limit set by the state, and remind him that speed limits vary depending on jurisdiction.
Don’t Operate The Car When Drunk:
It is only natural for teenagers to try to experiment with other activities; unfortunately, this usually involves alcohol. As a parent, you need to make your teenage child understand the fatal consequences of driving while intoxicated. Remind him that alcohol can impair his driving abilities and his decision-making capacity.
Aside from the possible fatal consequences, he might also face legal charges if he gets pulled over by a police officer for DUI suspicion. A DUI conviction can lead to fines and penalties, and it can result to long-term consequences. To this end, you should prohibit him from operating his car if he is drunk.
As an alternative, you should encourage him to call for a ride if he wants to go out drinking with friends. You can even make-up an SOS signal so that he can call on you for help. If you are worried about possible DUI, you can always consider installing an ignition interlock system in your child’s car. This system checks for your child’s blood alcohol content (BAC), and if his BAC exceeds the legal limit, he won’t be able to operate the vehicle.
Practice Defensive Driving:
Teach your child how to drive defensively. This means that he should always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to him. He should also map out a possible escape route. Remind him to stay at least one car away behind the vehicle in front of him and keep a steady, slow speed. If he is driving at a faster speed, he should maintain a larger buffer area to avoid collisions.
These are some of the friendly reminders before handing over the car keys to your adolescent child. To feel more at ease, you should choose a car with the latest safety equipment, such as lane-change monitoring system, stability control, and blind spot system.
- Joe Strupek.”Samantha’s first time behind the wheel.”. February 12, 2011. Online Image. Flickr. Oct 13, 2013
License: Creative Commons
In the past, Kris Hopkins was very anxious about letting her son drive; however, she found safe driving tips online and decided to teach them to her son. Today, she lists a few friendly reminders for teenagers to help keep them safe on the road. She also knows that some teens make stupid decisions, especially when they are drunk; thus, she recommends seeking legal help from credible lawyers from an established law firm like The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates.