As drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 years old have a higher risk of being involved in a car crash, parents have good reason to worry about their teens on the road. While teen drivers are almost three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident compared to older drivers, it’s important for you to encourage good driving habits in your child.
You want your child to enjoy the new freedoms of having a driver's license while also staying safe. Because of this, our team put together a quick checklist of some ways you can help your teenager avoid a car crash.
If your child is involved in an accident, schedule a free legal consultation with our car crash attorneys at Bart Durham Injury Law.
Here are 3 ways you can help your teenager avoid a car crash:
- Be a Good Example
- Create a Set of Rules for Your Child
- Educate Your Teenage Driver
Be a Good Example
As a parent, you know that your children learn to do as they see. That being said, one of the best ways to encourage good driving etiquette in your teen is to model appropriate road behavior when in the car together. Even as a seasoned driver, you may want to brush up on roadway laws and other driving facts to ensure you provide your child with the best information possible.
Being a good example for your teen driver means wearing your seat belt, breaking at stop signs and red lights, using your turn signal, and even maintaining a calm composure. If you speed, text and drive, or engage in other risky behaviors, your teen will recognize these behaviors as safe and likely mimic them when they drive alone.
When you take your child driving, try to explain the safe driving choices you make and why. This repetition can help show your child why it is a good idea to follow your example and may even save their life.
Create a Set of Rules for Your Child
Depending on your state, your newly licensed child will likely have to abide by stricter legal regulations. However, you may decide that it’s in your best interest to instate your own set of rules for your teenage driver. Below are some ideas to keep in mind when allowing your child onto the road.
Something that often entices teenagers to drive is the opportunity to spend more time with friends outside of school. As you know, having more passengers in your car can increase distractions and put more people in harm's way.
Your child’s friends will likely use their cellphones in the car, increasing the risk for your child to take their eyes off the road. In order to keep your child safe, and to not be held responsible for the injury of another, have your teen limit their amount of car passengers.
Avoid Distracted Driving
Along with multiple friends in the car, cell phones and other devices can cause your teen to be distracted from the road.
Electronic devices, fast food, and even listening to music while driving dramatically increase the risk for your teen driver to be involved in an accident. Nine percent of fatal crashes involving drivers between the ages of 15- and 19-years-old were caused by distractions.
As a rule of thumb, you may want to remind your teen to keep the music to a minimum when driving, and to leave all electronic devices tucked away from the wheel. If you’re personally worried about the location of your child, ask that they call you before or after they get to their destination.
Instill Seat Belt Safety
Seat belts reduce the risk of death for drivers by 45% and reduce the risk of severe injury by 50%. Make sure your child understands the importance of using their seat belt when they get behind the wheel. Not only will they keep themselves safe, but they will avoid hurting other drivers in the process. Try asking your passengers to “buckle up” once you’re all in the car. By repeating this each time you go for a drive, your child may start to pick this up in their own car.
No Underage Drinking and Driving
The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. As a teenager, your child should already understand that underage drinking is not safe behavior. However, you should make sure that your teen recognizes the dangers of drinking and driving. Alcohol not only impairs judgment and concentration but also puts your life and the lives around you at risk if consumed before getting on the road.
Restrict Nighttime Driving
Many states in the U.S. require that new drivers abide by a nighttime curfew. However, if your state does not instill this type of rule, you may wish to do so yourself. Because of diminished visibility, nocturnal animals, and even drunk drivers, driving at night can be much more dangerous than driving during the day.
For inexperienced teen drivers who are getting accustomed to paying close attention to the road, nighttime driving can be particularly dangerous. Try setting a curfew for your child in order to keep them off the roads at night.
Pro Tip: If you live in a colder region of the country, you may also want to avoid allowing your child to drive in the snow. For more winter weather driving tips, check out our blog.
Educate Your Teenage Driver
In order to ensure your child follows good driving etiquette when you’re not around, you need to be upfront and honest with them. Preparing your teen driver with correct, detailed information about accidents on the road can be influential.
Teenagers want to be treated like adults. Therefore, your teen should understand that with a driver’s license, they now have an adult responsibility to keep themselves and others safe. Inform your child of the why’s when implementing driving rules.
When educating your child on the most common causes of accidents, provide them with cold hard facts. This could include anything from drunk and distracted driving to speeding or disobeying traffic signals.
Let your child know how these accidents can be prevented by taking some time to have a conversation. The more you equip your teen with good driving knowledge, the better driver they will become.
When you learn that your child was injured in a car accident, your first emotion might be fear. Once you get all the information you need, such as the severity of the injury, you may need to contact a car crash attorney.