You never want to get a call from the police about your teen driver being in a serious (or fatal) auto accident. But what can you do to help prevent that? Find out below.
On May 13, 2019, a teen driver’s Saturn was split in half when they lost control while driving on the East Freeway in Houston.
The driver was killed. But the driver’s brother was expected to survive.
…It’s the nightmare story every parent of a teen driver doesn’t want to hear.
In the case of this accident, the story doesn’t reveal the true cause. Police did conclude alcohol was not a factor.
Regardless of the causes, the story reminds you of the dangers of teens driving.
As a responsible parent, you want to know everything you can do to keep your teen safe.
And the good news is there is plenty you can do. Here’s some ideas:
Set Strict Boundaries and Consequences with Your Teen’s Help
You’ll get better cooperation out of your teen if you let them assist with this process. Let them suggest rules, while you put the stamp of approval on them.
For example, if they come home past curfew, then they lose their rights to the car for a week.
And if they protest, then you can remind them that they came up with the idea.
You may not get perfect cooperation out of your teen. But you will get a lot more buy-in (and safer driving) this way.
Consider Smartphone Apps to Monitor Your Teen Driver
Of course, your teen won’t like this idea at first. But, you don’t have to turn it into a battle for control.
Instead, you can get an app, and then reward your teen for safe driving performance. For example, if they have no phone use while driving for a week, they get to go to their favorite fast food restaurant.
Apps monitor your teen’s driving in a number of ways, including:
- Analyzing cell phone use while driving
- Checking for speeding
- Creating opportunities to show your teen how to improve their safe driving
You can choose from dozens of apps. Here’s six to begin to research.
Discuss the Main Causes of Teen Driving Accidents
Distracted driving is by far the leading cause of accidents for teen drivers. Going too fast for conditions and failing to anticipate driving hazards come in a ways behind. However, they’re still common factors.
The most common driving distractions are texting, talking to passengers, changing the radio, and applying makeup. Let your teen know you’d rather they pull over to do those things and be late coming home than get in a serious auto accident.
To help with weather conditions, you can practice driving in those conditions with your teen. Or if you think they just don’t get it, or don’t want to get it, then don’t let them drive in adverse weather.
Failure to anticipate hazards happens because teens don’t have the experience to scan the road for potential problems. Potholes, other cars rapidly swerving in and out of lanes, and pedestrians hidden from view before they enter crosswalks are potential hazards.
Drive with your teen in areas where they might encounter such hazards and educate them on potential hazards to look for…before they become actual hazards.
Always Model These Safe Driving Skills Yourself
If you have a teen, or a pre-teen, the best thing you can do is to be the type of driver you want your teen to be.
The age-old cliche goes,“Children may fail to imitate what we say. But they never fail to imitate what we do.”
And that’s 100% true!
So, be a safe driver yourself, and figure out which of these strategies will be most effective for your teen, and follow through!