National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 18-24. According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths in the US. On average 6 teens die every day in the US from motor vehicle injuries!
If you have a teenage driver in your life, now is the time to talk to them about safe driving! If you've already talked with them, we encourage you to talk to them again! Parents are key to safer teen driving. Here are a few tips to help keep your teenager safe as they operate an auto:
Lead by example! There is a reason we are listing this as #1. If you do not practice safe driving practices yourself, your teen is more likely to also disobey the rules. Be sure that you are operating your vehicle in the most safe and less distracted way
Consider having your teen download a phone app dedicated to safe driving. There are multiple apps available that help you track drivers. A couple of our staff members have "Life 360" which allows you to track the cell phone location as well as speed. Of course, these apps have their negatives (they may not be 100% accurate with location and teens can find ways to turn off their tracking), but just knowing that you may be watching will make your teen think twice.
Sign your teen up for telemetrics on your insurance policies. Many of our carriers have telemetrics that will track your driving via an app and provide a reflective rate change on your insurance. These apps generally track hard braking, fast acceleration, night driving, and miles. You'll want to speak with your agent before adding to be sure you won't be negatively impacted, but tieing the driving date to a financial incentive via insurance may reinforce safe driving practices to your teenage driver.
Encourage your teenage driver to Buckle Up! Compared to other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use. While wearing a seatbelt won't prevent an accident, it may just save your teen's life.
Limit distractions in the car. Tell your teen to put their phone in the backseat while driving. Limit the number of non-family members that your teenage driver can have in the car. 6 out of 10 teen crashes are caused by driver distraction.
Review seasonal safe driving practices. As the seasons change, so do our driving habits. For our more experienced drivers, this happens naturally. However, for our teen drivers, this may be only the first or second time they have experienced fog, ice, sleet, a heavy rain, etc. With permit periods only being 6 months long, it is possible that your child didn't get to drive with you through every type of weather. A reminder on how to adjust to different weather types (ie. turning on your lights during fog), may help teens avoid an accident.
Drive with your teen frequently! Even after your teen receives his or her license, be sure to ride in the car with them. This will help you identify any bad habits they have picked up as time goes on.
Unfortunately, not all accidents can be avoided. There is a very good chance that your child will be involved in an accident at some point in their life. Take the time to talk with your child about what to do when they are involved in an accident. Our office has "crash kit" forms available that you can place in your child's glove box. Should an accident occur, they can reach for this step-by-step form to guide them through the experience.
If and when an accident occurs, we are here to help! While we wish we could prevent them all, we know we can't! But we can continue to talk about safe driving habits in effort to minimize as much as possible!
Photo credits to Pixabay