5 Things Your Teen Needs to Know Before They Get Behind the Wheel
You knew it was going to happen, you should have been prepared for this, but if for some reason you aren’t, I have you covered. When the day finally comes when your child is old enough to start driving on their own it is important to make sure that you teach them about how to be a safe driver before they hit the road on their own. Most states require teens to hold a learners permit for at least 6 months, which means they are only allowed to drive in your presence or with an authorized driving instructor during this time. This should give you plenty of time to ride around with them and give them tips on what to do and what not to do while they are on the road.
1. Buckle Up
First thing is first, before even pulling out of the driveway it is pivotal that you let them know how important always having their seatbelt on is. Seatbelts are proven to save lives. According to the National Safety Council seat belts helped save the lives of over 75,000 people from 2004 to 2008. That is a huge number that should show your teen just how important wearing their belt really is. They may think they look cool, or that it is more comfortable driving without a seatbelt, but remind them that it is against the law to drive without a seatbelt on. It normally costs upwards of $100 if they are caught driving without one, and they most likely won’t think its so cool anymore once their wallet is empty from paying that ticket.
2. Stay Off The Phone
It seems more and more each day with all the new technology and social media out there that people are constantly texting, talking, or facebooking while they are driving. Texting and driving is extremely dangerous and it should be stressed over and over again to your child that no matter how important the message may be, it should wait until they are parked. Looking away from the road and down at your phone screen to text or make a call for even a second can cause you to veer off the road or into oncoming traffic and cause a bad accident. Law Firm Edgar Snyder and Associates states that an estimated 1.3 million car crashes per year are cell phone related, which comes out to be about 23 percent of all accidents. If you need to make it simpler for them then explain that about 1 and 4 accidents are due to cell phones and if they can’t stay off it while they are driving then maybe they should not have one in the first place.
3. Pay Attention To Other Drivers
It is also very important that you explain to your teen that when they are out driving, as good of a job as they are doing, they also need to pay attention to other drivers. The statistics regarding car accidents stated above gos for all drivers. They should realize that they may be driving in their own lane on the highway, but someone on the opposite side of the road could be on their phone texting someone and start to swerve into their lane. If they were not paying attention an accident would most likely occur, but if they were keeping their eyes on the road then they most likely would see the oncoming car coming and have a better chance to get out of the way, decreasing the likelihood of an accident occurring.
4. Follow The Rules of The Road
I remember when I first got my license, I couldn’t wait to just take off in my Mustang and speed around town testing the limits of my car and testing the limits of the law. Fortunately, most of us have already done all of that stupid stuff so we are here to let our kids know not to do it. Explain to them that there are rules to follow while driving on the road for a reason. Speed limits are set to save lives, make sure they are always paying attention to traffic lights and road signs as well. If you teach your child to drive safe and to follow the rules of the road, then the likelihood of an accident or a ticket occurring decreases.
5. Make Sure Everything on the Vehicle Is Working
One of the last things you should teach your child before they head out by themselves for the first time is how important it is to check the basic things on their vehicle periodically to insure the safety of themselves and others. Checking the pressure in their tires, making sure all lights in and outside of vehicle are working, and also making sure mirrors and wipers are working are all important.
When the time comes for your son or daughter to get their license you should be excited for them. It is one of, if not the most exciting time in their life and it is important that you are involved in the process of teaching them not only how to drive, but to drive safe. Once you both feel that they are comfortable enough to drive alone and the time is right then you should feel confident that you have taught your child everything he or she needs to know about driving safe!
This article was written by Matthew Hall. When Matthew’s parents tried teaching his younger brother how to drive, he just knew he’d have to step in. As good as their intentions were, they had no idea how to relay the importance of certain safety measures. That’s why he’s decided to share his experience with you so teen driver’s every where will be safer…and stop hitting his car. Matthew also writes professionally for InsuranceLand.org. You can read more of his safe driving tips by visiting his Google+.