You would not let your child venture out late at night without first giving them some precautions that would keep them safe. Likewise you would not send your child to work at a machinery shop without first teaching them how to safely work with the tools. So why would you even consider sending your teenagers out onto the road without first establishing rules for your teen to help them drive safer? Establishing rules to help protect your children and to teach them how to protect themselves is your responsibility as a parent. When it comes to setting ground rules for your teenage driver, parental involvement may be more critical than ever. This is especially true when you consider that automobile accidents account for more than 41% of all teen deaths and that car accidents are the number one killer of teens. With statistics like this, it is hard to believe that some parents still neglect to set rules for their teens to help them to drive safer.
Buckle seat belt – Buckling your safety belt can save your life. Yet for some reason people choose not to make buckling up a priority. Make sure that your teen understands that there is no option when it comes to fastening their seatbelt. The belt should be buckled before the car is even started. Studies done by the Department of Transportation show that two thirds of teens who were killed in a car accident were not wearing their safety belt. Imagine how many families would still have their teens if those teens understood the importance of simply taking an extra two seconds to buckle up.
Limit number of friends allowed in the car – Statistics also show that the risk of a teen being involved in a car accident increased dramatically as the number of teenage passengers in the car increases. Other teens in the car cause the driver to be distracted or to feel like they need to impress their passengers with dangerous maneuvers. Succumbing to the peer pressure of being rebellious and above the law drives teens to make poor decisions when it comes to being safe while on the road.
Strict rules about speeding, distracted driving and obeying traffic rules – Driver’s education courses will teach your children the rules of the road, but whether or not teens decide to follow those rules is a completely different story. Teens need to know that there will be severe consequences to their actions if they decide to speed or ignore traffic rules, no excuses. Additionally, teens need to be aware that even though they may think that they are able to multitask in the car, doing so is extremely dangerous. Distracted driving is a main contributor to the fact that teenagers are involved in more single car accidents (for example, accidents where the car is driven into a pole or tree) than any other age group.
Supplemental learner’s permit rules and lengths – Do not stop at what the state mandates when it comes to the safety and driver’s training of your teen. Create rules of your own that will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you have seen your teen’s abilities and can trust that they will drive safely when you hand them the keys. Parental driving contracts are becoming very popular. These contracts allow the parent to create their own set of driving rules and the consequences of breaking those rules. Supplemental driver’s courses are also offered by many car insurance providers. Ask your policy provider if they offer such a service. You and your teen may learn a few things that you didn’t know before.