Did you know that 50 million people are involved in road traffic accidents? Of these 50 million, 1.3 million die every year. That is more than 3,000 deaths per day. If you were already worried about your child getting behind the wheel, this information isn’t going to help. However, it is vital that parents understand the danger before they let their kids drive. Otherwise, these statistics will increase and your son or daughter might be involved.
Let’s face it – teens aren’t great drivers. Yes, they might have passed their test, but they are a liability. They have little experience, succumb to peer pressure, and drive too fast. But, they are stubborn and headstrong, so informing them about safety can feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall. It is essential that they don’t do the same in a literal aspect, and that’s why you’re here.
By continuing reading, you will find out ways to ensure your kid’s safety when they are on the open road. Without further ado, here are tricks which might save a life.
Set A Great Example
Although it doesn’t sound right, teens look to their parents for help and guidance. It is evident when they sit you down and ask a question, but kids are perceptive, too. In fact, they will analyze a driver’s habits when they are in the passenger seat and copy the behavior. The majority of parents won’t mind this because it is an excellent way to teach and educate. Still, there are things every driver does which shouldn’t be copied, especially by a young driver. Everything from road rage to speeding is dangerous and needs cutting out when the kids are in the car. Instead, stick to the speed limit and try to avoid stressful situations. Notice the term “good example.” No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. By trying to be flawless, you will only exacerbate the situation. If you do something wrong, explain why and tell them not to do the same.
Have “The” Talk
Don’t worry – this is not about the birds and the bees! No, this discussion is more difficult because your son or daughter will be excited to drive and won’t want to hear any negativity. Still, it’s a necessary part of preparing them for life on the road without an instructor. After all, the stats say they might need an attorney and they need to be aware of the fact. The key is to say anything you need to without sounding smug or self-righteous. If you can’t get the tone right, they won’t listen and the conversation will be pointless. So, before you sit them down, consider how you want to communicate. Try and get on a level. For example, mention how you know that they are excited, but that driving can be unsafe. Also, tell them you trust them, but you need to set ground rules. The more caring and understanding, the higher the chance they will listen.
Let Other Drivers Help
As a parent, kids like to ignore everything that comes out of your mouth. Sadly, it’s an occupational hazard of being a mom or dad. In this case, it is dangerous because a little bit of info goes a long way on the roads. So, you need to find a loophole which will work, and other drivers can help. Are there people who they look up to and admire? What about celebrities that they love to follow? Using their idols as tools for safety is very useful because they hang on every word. For racing enthusiasts, our very own Driven Autos site has safety tips from Scott Mansell and Brad Philpot. Because they aren’t old and stuffy, they are more likely to get through your teen’s firewall. Obviously, finding comments relating to road safety isn’t easy, which is why social media is handy. With Twitter, you can get in contact with celebs and get them to raise awareness of the subject.
Buy A Safe Car
Not to generalize, but teenagers tend not to have the money to buy a car. What with the initial price and cost of tax and insurance, they are priced out. Of course, the good old bank of mom and dad is always on hand, or they have the family car to raid. There is nothing wrong with providing your child with the opportunity to drive. If you don’t, no one else will and their skills will worsen. Still, there are precautions a parent can take to increase their safety. The best one is to buy a car which has a high safety rating so that the chances of an injury are small. A 2017 Chevrolet Volt is a perfect example because it is NHTSA and IIHS accredited. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it a five-star rating. The 2017 Genesis G80 boasts the same, but it isn’t as fuel-efficient. A tip: don’t let them choose because they will go with style over substance.
Ban Cell Phones
Mobile devices are a focal point of most people’s lives, from adults to teenagers. However, it is no secret that teenagers glue their faces to it as if they are about to find out the meaning of life. It is the current culture, and it’s hard to unglue their faces, even when they are driving. Let’s be fair – a high percentage of teens won’t send a text or take a call. But, the fact remains that they will play scan the screen and play around with music playlists. Seen as 25% of accidents are a result of mobile phones, it isn’t safe to have them in the car. Yes, that is one-quarter of 50 million, by the way. They won’t like it but don’t back down. This is an instance where it is for their good and they have to follow the rules. Otherwise, take the car back or remove them from the insurance policy. Always treat cell phones in cars as non-negotiable.
No Drinking And Driving
Obviously, drinking alcohol is illegal if they are a teenager, but when have rules stopped them. Plus, some parents don’t mind their kids having a few drinks if it is in a controlled environment. However, they should never drive regardless of the amount. Even if there is a limit, this shouldn’t apply to them. Drinking and driving, no matter how much a person has, is dangerous. If you don’t believe that, take a look at these following figures. Spoiler alert: it equates 29% of all road traffic deaths.
Don’t Let Them Drive At Night
Night time driving seems benign enough until you realize 40% of teen crashes happen between 9pm and 6am. There is a variety of reasons for this, from bad visibility to fatigue. The main cause for this statistic, however, is quiet roads. When the roads are full, teens have to drive sensibly because they can’t go fast. There is too much traffic and too many motorists to put the pedal to the metal. Driving at night is different because the roads are quieter, which allows young drivers to put their foot down. By going a few miles quicker, the risk of accidents increases. When you put everything together, it makes driving at night a gamble for young adults. A useful trick is to put a curfew on the car. If they want to go out, fine, but they can’t take the vehicle. That way, driving on quiet roads in dangerous conditions isn’t a factor.
Be Wary Of Friends
All of the above makes it seem as if teenagers are reckless and stupid. You know better than that, as do most parents. Rather than reckless, they are gullible and susceptible to pressure from their peers. When their friends are in the car, teens turn into different drivers. They speed because they don’t want to drive like an old person. They turn up the music because young people are immune to deafness. And, they lose concentration because they chat and laugh and have fun. No one wants to be part of the fun police, but these attributes are not safe. In fact, they are deadly in a lot of cases. If you don’t want to ban their friends altogether, be wary of the ones you don’t trust. Ask them where they are going and who with. When they say a name you don’t like, offer to give them a ride. Or, say you need the car to run errands and drop them off on the way.
Finally, get in the car with them and go for a drive. There is no way to tell whether they are safe or not until you hitch a ride. Sure, they might alter their driving style, but their main traits never change. Think of it as a review. If everything goes to plan, count your lucky stars that your child isn’t a terrible driver. For those who need more practice, go over the finer points again.
After all, their safety is paramount.