Are you being a good role model for your teen driver?
Teen drivers have the highest accident rate of any age group, mainly because they are inexperienced drivers. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for young people from the ages of 15 to 20. Although most teens don’t like to admit it, they watch and emulate a lot of what their parents do. Teens spend a majority of their lives in the passenger seat or backseat of their parent’s cars as they are driven to and from school, soccer practice and piano lessons.
When it is time for them to get behind the wheel, they typically practice what they know. This is why it is important for parents to always set a good example for their children, especially when it comes to driving. Plus, if there’s one thing that teens hate, it’s a hypocritical parent. In order for parents to teach their teens to be good drivers, they must become safe and courteous drivers themselves.
Be a Courteous Driver
Teach your teen how to share the road with others. Aggressive driving can be extremely dangerous and can lead to an accident or an unnecessary road rage incident. Refrain from cutting people off, tailgating and voicing your frustrations by yelling or using profanity. Your teen will pick up on these behaviors and might think it is okay if they find themselves in a similar situation. Instead, stay calm and practice courteous driving. This means keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you so that you can react to a traffic situation and maneuver around other cars appropriately.
Furthermore, you should always use your turn signal and budget enough time for your commutes. Allotting time for traffic delays will allow you to drive more calmly, knowing that you will get to your destination on time. Teaching your teen how to be a patient driver may prevent him or her from speeding or becoming frustrated behind the wheel. Other courteous driving practices include giving the right of way to pedestrians and never blocking intersections.
Don’t Drive Distracted
In this day and age, it’s hard for anyone to stay off their phones. Many drivers are guilty of texting or checking their social media apps while driving, especially in traffic. According to the National Safety Council, there were at least 341,000 car accidents recorded in 2013 due to texting. Texting and driving is the most common cause of accidents amongst teen drivers.
Teaching your teen to give their undivided attention to the road is pertinent to his or her driving. Make sure that you take care of any calls or texts before starting your car. If your phone rings while driving, do not answer it. Your teen should learn that any phone call or text he or she receives while driving can wait. Distracted driving also involves putting on makeup, eating and fiddling with your radio or navigation system. As a parent, you may feel the need to multitask. However, straying your eyes from the road for just one second can cause a serious accident.
According to AAA, many drivers are unprepared for roadside emergencies. They do not know how to change a tire or do not have an emergency kit in their cars. It is important that you teach your teen to always be prepared in the event his or her vehicle breaks down. Teach your teen how to jump start a car and change a tire. Walk him or her through the steps and explain what each tool is used for.
Always have your vehicle equipped with jumper cables, traffic cones and an emergency flashlight. Furthermore, you should teach your teen the importance of car maintenance by taking him or her along with you to get your tires rotated or oil changed. This way, your teen will learn the importance of up keeping the condition of his or her vehicle.
Follow All Traffic Laws
You may want to think twice before making an illegal U-turn or passing in a no passing zone. These traffic laws were put in place to keep drivers on the road safe. Failing to abide by these road laws is not only dangerous, but it teaches your teen that it is okay to break the law if no one is watching. Make sure to always wear your seatbelt and that your teen always wears his or hers. According to the National Safety Council, you can increase your chance of surviving a car crash by 50 percent if you wear your seatbelt.
It is also important that you always come to a complete stop when approaching a stop sign. Even if you see no other drivers stopped. Furthermore, always follow the speed limit even if you are tempted to go a little over. If your teen breaks a traffic law, he or she may be able to justify it with “well, mom does it too”.
This is a contributed post.