Safe driving for teens
Learning to drive is an exciting time for teenagers and their parents. It opens up many options for a young person, but it also carries risks. Young people between ages 15 and 24 have the highest rate of auto-related deaths. The rate is the highest for young men.
Parents and teens should be aware of problem areas and take steps to avoid hazards.
Driving and teenagers; Teens and safe driving; Automobile safety - teenage drivers
Teens also need to commit to being safe and responsible drivers in order improve the odds in their favor.
- Reckless driving is still a danger to teens -- even with automobile safety features.
- All new drivers should take a driver's education course. These courses can reduce crashes.
Drivers and passengers should use automobile safety features at all times. These include: seat belts, shoulder straps, and headrests. Only drive cars that have air bags, padded dashes, safety glass, collapsible steering columns, and anti-lock brakes.
Auto accidents are also a leading cause of death in infants and children. Infants and young children should be properly buckled into a child safety seat of the right size.
Distractions are a problem for all drivers. Do not use cell phones for talking, texting, and email when you are driving.
- Mobile phones should be turned off when driving so you are not be tempted to make calls or answer the phone.
- If phones are left on for emergency use, pull off of the road before answering or texting.
Other tips include:
- Avoid putting on makeup while driving, even when stopped at a light or stop sign, it can be dangerous.
- Finish eating before starting your car and driving.
Driving with friends can lead to accidents.
- Teens are safer driving alone or with family. For the first 6 months, teens should drive with an adult driver who can help them learn good driving habits.
- New drivers should wait should wait at least 3 to 6 months before taking friends as passengers.
Teenage-related driving deaths occur more often in certain conditions.
- Reckless driving is still a danger, even when using seatbelts. Don't rush. It safer to be late.
- Avoid driving at nighttime. Your driving skills and reflexes are just developing during the first months of driving. Darkness adds an extra factor to cope with.
- When drowsy, stop driving until fully alert. Sleepiness may cause more accidents than alcohol.
- Drinking slows reflexes and hurts judgment. These effects happen to anyone who drinks. So, NEVER drink and drive. ALWAYS find someone to drive who has not been drinking -- even if this means making an uncomfortable phone call.
- Drugs can be just as dangerous as alcohol.
Parents should talk with their teens about "household driving rules."
- Make a written "driving contract" that both parents and teens sign.
- The contract should list the rules and what teens can expect if rules are broken.
- The contract should state that parents have the final say about driving rules.
- When writing the contract, take into account all the driving issues that are likely to come up.
Parents can do the following to help prevent teens from drinking and driving:
- Tell their teens to call rather than get in a car with a driver who has been drinking or when they have been drinking. Promise no punishment if they call first.
Some children continue to mix driving and drinking.
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