For most teenagers, having a driver’s license is a sign of freedom, but unfortunately it increases the risk of car accidents. Teens lack the experience necessary for driving in many conditions, and they often partake in risky behaviors such as distracted driving. Parents can play a large role in making sure teenagers have the tools and skills to stay safe on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teenage drivers cause a high number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. The top reasons include inexperience and immaturity. One strategy to reduce the number of crashes is the graduated driver licensing system, which restricts driving in certain situations. Parents can also take part by laying down ground rules about driving. This may include no other teenage passengers, no nighttime driving, seatbelt use and phone restrictions.
Parents can also improve a teen’s driving skills by riding with them and have them practice driving in higher-risk conditions such as rush hour, rain, construction zones and night driving. It is also important to have discussions about driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the National Parent Teacher Association, parents also play a role in reducing distracted driving. Teenagers live by example, and many parents drive while performing at least two behaviors that are distracting or dangerous. Phone use is a big one. Teenagers, especially, text while driving, so parents should make sure they practice good behaviors and stay off the phone while driving.
Parents can also practice with their teen in the passenger seat. Have him or her text and describe what is going on during the drive. Point out potential hazards that the teenager misses due to the distracting behavior.