Every parent wants their child to be safe. For teens, however, one of the most dangerous places to be is behind the wheel.
“Car crashes kill more teens than guns, drugs, alcohol, and suicide combined,” author and teen driving expert Timothy Smith said.
There are a series of steps that every parent can take to ensure that their child is a safe teen driver. Safe teen driving begins before your child gets their license. The most important distraction for a teen to avoid while driving is their cell phone. If a teen texts while driving, their crash risk increases 43 times. Ingrain the importance of not using cell phones while driving, even before your teen gets their permit.
“Reducing or eliminating your child’s use of a cell phone while driving is maybe the single biggest factor you can help them to reduce their crash risk by,” said Smith.
To help eliminate cell phone temptation, Smith recommends using Aegis Mobility’s FleetSafer. This program automatically detects when the car is in motion. Parents can disallow data searching and texting when their child is driving in order to keep them safe.
Encourage your teen to practice driving. The more trained they are, the less likely they are going to be involved in a car crash, according to Smith.
“Drive with your teen often,” said parent coach and author Jamee Tenzer, PCC. “Drive with your teen until you feel completely comfortable with their ability to drive.”
If you feel worried about your teen’s ability to drive at 16, then don’t let them. For some teens, they need another year of practice before they have the ability to sit comfortably behind the wheel alone. Step in and have your teen wait until both you and your child decide they’re ready to get their license.
Jan Withers, the National President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), recommends that once a licence has been obtained, driving should be limited to necessary trips during daylight hours. She warns that teens are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal car crash in the evening.
“We want to limit the amount of passengers in the car,” said Withers. “Teens are seven times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash when they have passengers in the car.”
The danger for teen drivers doesn’t end once they relinquish the wheel. Any time that your child enters a car, they need to practice safe car skills. Make sure your teen knows that they should never get into a car with a drunk driver, regardless of whether they are underage or not. If the driver has the capacity to operate the car, then the child must wear their seat belt and avoid distracting the driver. When there are more passengers within the vehicle, the ride becomes just as dangerous for those passengers as it does for the driver.
Safe teen driving is a matter of practice and diligence. By working with your child on the steps listed above, your teen will be prepared to safely drive on the road.
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About Jamee Tenzer, PCC
In 2002, Jamee Tenzer founded CMQ Coaching, a private practice with a focus on working mothers and female executives. She works with her clients to integrate their professional and personal lives in order to make their vision real in the workplace without giving up the experience they want at home. She is also a trainer, mentor, author and small business coach. Her writing has been published in magazines, she is a contributor to numerous websites, writes a monthly newsletter “Coach Me Quick!” and manages “Executive Moms” on LinkedIn. In 2006, she co-authored, 101 Great Ways To Improve Your Life, and in April of 2012 she published her first Coach Me Quick!; Balance Your Work and Family Life with Less Stress and More Fun.