Your teen is undoubtedly excited to start driving for the first time and is eager to enjoy this newfound freedom. However, as a parent of a teen driver, you are probably anything but excited. Being the parent of a new teen driver can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with the right involvement, you can make a difference in your teen's safety on the road. Here are some safety tips you can arm your teen driver with:
Using a seat belt is the single most effective way to stay safe when driving. According to the National Safety Council, wearing a seat belt can reduce your risk of crash-related injuries by 50 percent and can be life-saving. Between 2004 and 2008 alone, seat belts saved more than 75,000 lives. Make sure your teens always buckle up in the car, whether they are going a mile down the road or taking a week-long road trip!
Distracted driving is a major safety concern. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16 percent of fatal crashes in 2009 were related to distracted driving and 20 percent of injury crashes were related to distracted driving. DistractedDriving.org states that distracted driving is any activity that could take a driver's attention away from the primary task of driving. Reinforce the dangers of distracted driving to your teen driver.
… Including Friends
Talking to passengers is considered distracted driving. Crash rates are lowest among teens who do not have teen passengers with them, and the crash rate increases with just one teen passenger. Don't allow your teen drivers to take passengers until they have become accustomed to driving.
Only Allow Day Driving
Driving at night is dangerous for teens because it can be more difficult to see, it is harder to judge speed and distance, and there are more unsafe and impaired drivers on the road at night. The hours between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. are the most dangerous for teen drivers. Make sure your teens have months of daytime driving under the belt before driving alone at night.
Stay Within the Speed Limit
Make sure your teens know the speed limits in the areas they drive. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the chance or serious injury and death doubles with every 10 mph over 50 mph a vehicle travels. Share with your teens the consequences that speeding can have.
For more information on driving safety, you and your teen can access the Florida Driver's Handbook or talk to you teen's high school about the availability of driver's education courses.