Tips For Parents With Teenage Drivers

Learning to drive is one of the best parts of being young. But it is also one of the most dangerous. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 20. A recent government report showed that teenagers are the age group with the highest death rate in car accidents, with over 5,000 deaths per year and nearly half a million injuries.

Parents of teens who are learning to drive or just been licensed need to take special steps to protect them. Here are ways parents can reduce the chance of their teenage children being in a car accident:

Be a good role model

Don’t rely only on driver education. High school driver education is a good way for teens to learn many driving skills. But many traditional drivers training courses offer just a small amount of classroom and on-road instructions. Because of this, parents should be a good driving example for their children and impress on them proper safety measures.

Set safety rules and restrictions

Parents should set safety rules and enforce them. When children violate these rules, impose punishment, including taking away driving privileges. Unfortunately, most parents are aware only of the time and other restrictions they place on their children, but are not aware of their child’s actual risky or unsafe driving behavior.

Restrict night driving by teen

Young teenage drivers have a higher rate of night crashes than any other age group. Most fatal crashes for teens occur between the hours of 9 p.m. to midnight. Night outings tend to be recreational, and teens can be easily distracted or encouraged to take risks.

Limit the number of passengers

According to studies, the chance of teens being involved in a car accident goes up significantly as the number of passengers increases. Compared to driving alone, 16-17 year olds have a 40% higher chance of being in an accident when they have one passenger, twice the risk with two passengers, and nearly four times the risk with three or more passengers. This increased risk of an accident is likely due to the fact that teenage passengers in a car are much more likely to distract a driver or encourage more risk-taking. So limit the number of teen passengers, especially more than one.

Choose vehicles for safety, not image

Teenagers should drive cars that lower their chances of a crash and give better protection in the event of one. Avoid cars with images that encourage speeding. Also, evidence shows that many teens — especially if they are the car’s owner — are more likely to drive smaller and older-model cars. This can be unsafe, as larger cars offer more protection and newer models typically offer more safety features.

Graduated driver licensing laws

Many states have graduated driver licensing laws, in which teens gain the privilege of driving over time. Government studies have shown that these laws directly impact accident rates, with about a 20% lower rate in areas that have these laws than in areas without them. Parents should make sure their children abide by graduated driver licensing laws. In states with weak or no laws, parents should impose their own restrictions on passengers and night driving as discussed above.

Require seat belt use

Don’t assume that a child who uses a seat belt when you drive will always use it. Seat belt use is lowest among teenagers. According to the government, nearly 65% of teens killed in car accidents were not wearing a seat belt. Parents must insist on seat belt use all the time.

These are some of the ways parents can keep their teenage children safe when driving. Parents should always impress on their children safety when driving, and if there are any issues or concerns, should not be afraid to take away driving privileges. This just may save your child’s life.

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