Helping parents talk with teenage drivers during National Teen Driver Safety Week
Did you know that car crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in the U.S.? In fact, almost half of the teen drivers involved in a crash die, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Yet a recent NHTSA survey shows that only 25% of parents have had a serious talk with their teen drivers about the key components of safe driving.
Remember, you’re the parent and you still have a lot to teach your teens. Good communication can save their lives.
This is the start of National Teen Driver Safety Week. Setting the rules now – before they hit the road – based on the “5 to Drive” might be a good place to start the conversation:
- No drinking and driving: Start with yourself and set a good example by not driving after drinking. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and booze and driving should never mix.
- Buckle up: They may have learned this as kids, but it always helps to remind your teen it’s important to buckle up on every trip, even the short ones. This is another one where you can lead by example.
- No cell phones and texting and driving: Tell your teen the phone is off limits when they’re behind the wheel. And refrain from doing so yourself. You can even look into these 4 great apps to make sure they don’t text and drive.
- Don’t speed: Avoid the lead foot. Drive the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.
- No more than one passenger: Don’t allow your teen to drive with more than one passenger at a time. Statistics show that the more passengers in the car when a teen is driving, the higher the likelihood of a car crash.
Another important facet teaching your teens about safe driving is knowing your state’s laws for new drivers. In Michigan, there’s a texting while driving ban for all drivers and Kelsey’s Law, a cell phone ban for teen drivers. Also, you can read about Michigan’s graduated license requirements for teens here.