If you are the parent of a teen driver, passing on driving safety tips will help reinforce what they may or may not be learning from driver education classes. Young drivers account for a large percentage of highway accidents, related to a lack of driving experience and to immature thinking. Help your teenager become a safer and more considerate driver by using the following 7 tips:
Tip 1: Buckle Up
Of course we’ve all heard the “Buckle Up for Safety” slogan. Teens, unless they have formed a life-long habit of wearing their seat belts (and are not easily influenced by friends), may think it’s not “cool” to buckle up. Remind them that this is a condition for their being permitted to drive.
Tip 2: Vehicle Inspection
Before driving, most of us just get into the vehicle and go. For all of us, and more importantly for teens, it’s critical that before actually driving the vehicle these young drivers inspect the vehicle carefully, particularly in the winter. Teach them to clean the windows and mirrors and to make sure there are no children playing near or under the vehicle. Also, they should check to see that mirrors and seats are adjusted.
Tip 3: No Cell Phones, Food or Drinks
Let your teen know that when driving, they are never to use a cell phone nor are they allow to eat or drink. They should also be made aware of other distractions that can be dangerous, such as arguing, goofing around with friends, changing radio stations, trying to follow map directions and applying makeup while driving.
Tip 4: Obeying Traffic Signs/Lights
Instruct your teens how to stop properly at stop signs or lights. They should brake smoothly, avoid slamming on the brakes or braking at the last minute. When stopping behind other vehicles, your teen should allow enough space so that he can see the rear tires of the car in front of him.
Encourage your teen that when starting up from a stop, he should look in all directions before proceeding into traffic.
Tip 5: Speed and Caution
Help your teen to understand the importance of not exceeding the speed limit and to be aware of speed limits in areas, especially when they change from one zone to another. Help them to see that increased speed also decreases their ability to stop quickly for unexpected conditions or events. Speed also interferes with their ability to make sharp turns safely.
Tip 6: Maintain a Safe Distance behind Trucks
Many inexperienced drivers feel uncomfortable passing or driving alongside large trucks. Remind your teen to keep a safe distance from large trucks. If your teen driver cannot see the truck in his rear view mirror, it is unlikely the truck driver can see him.
Tip 7: No Night Driving
Give your teenager several months of daylight driving experiences before allowing them to take the car at night. Night driving is unsafe for many reasons and increases the chances of accidents significantly. The highest teen fatalities occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.