With scenery as beautiful as we have here in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and the sea islands, it is no wonder your teen driver is prone to getting distracted while driving. But the truth is, distractions can happen anywhere, and that’s not the only thing that can put your teen driver at risk. Bottom line, teens need to be coached by parents in order to become safe drivers.
Research indicates that the greatest risk of auto accidents is among teenage drivers. The California Department of Motor Vehicles reports that the fatal crash rate for 16- to 19-year-olds is 2.7 times higher than for drivers of all ages. So here are some tips for parents to pass on to their sons and daughters who are now getting behind the wheel for the first time.
· Establish initial ground rules for the use of the car. These rules, perhaps in the form of a contract, should include restrictions on the number of friends in the car, circumscribed use of the radio, where and how the car may be used, and curfew times. Curtailment of the right to drive should be spelled out.
· Ban cell phone use. Parents should emphasize that the cell phone must be turned off and unavailable while the teen is driving.
· Prohibit drinking and driving. Parents should emphasize that there be no exceptions to this ironclad rule.
· Keep distractions to a minimum. This includes talking with friends, eating, and flipping the radio dial.
· Practice defensive driving. Techniques include maintaining a safe distance from cars ahead of the driver, closely monitoring traffic in adjacent lanes, and taking a defensive driving class.
· Follow the speed limit. Research indicates that high driving speed is a significant contributor to fatal teen accidents.
· Choose a safe auto for your teen. Autos with excellent crash safety records and the latest safety equipment, including air bags and electronic stability control, could reduce your teen’s chances of being injured in an auto accident.
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.