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Safe Teen Driving

Car Responsibilities: How to Talk to Your Teen About Driving

Posted by Sue Scheff on February 27, 2018  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Teen Driving Responsibilities

Driving is a major responsibility for anyone — although learning the proper mechanics is something teens in particular need to understand before getting on the road.

Case in point: Six teens die every day from car crash injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Knowing this information, if you’re working with your teen to get their learner’s permit or driver’s license, it’s time to sit down and have “the talk” — that is, about car responsibilities.

Be a Good Role Model

It’s no secret young people tend to emulate the actions, beliefs and attitudes of their parents, which is why you should always set a good example to teach and reinforce good habits. As such, when you get in your car, make it a habit (if it isn’t already) to put away your smartphone, fasten your seat belt and check your mirrors before starting the vehicle.

Additionally, you’ll always want to use your turn signal, follow the speed limit and keep your emotions in check. Never drink and drive or get behind the wheel if you aren’t feeling like yourself, and be open to discussing the decisions you make behind the wheel. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, your teen is watching you and will want to model your actions and behaviors.

Set Limits

When your teen gets their driver’s license, it’s important to set some important rules of the road beyond the relevant driving laws in your state. By clearly defining your expectations upfront, you’ll reduce conflicts, costly mistakes and other problems. Moreover, you’ll feel more confident and have better peace of mind about your teen’s driving abilities.

Fortunately, some states require teens to have progressive driving licenses that set limits on when they can drive and how many passengers are allowed in their vehicle at any one time. But even if your state doesn’t employ any restrictions for teen drivers, you should have open, honest discussions with your loved one about these important topics.

If you feel it necessary, draw up a safe driving contract with your teen to lay out any limits and responsibilities. For example, you may want to mention that they can only drive if they keep their grades up and stay out of trouble. Additionally, discuss any repercussions for distracted driving, including the use of their smartphone and ability to hang out with friends.

Continue the Discussion

Safe driving goes beyond explaining any important rules of the road. In fact, these conversations should be ongoing to ensure your teen maintains good driving habits and understands their responsibilities behind the wheel. While they should know the rules of the road, they also need to understand how to take care of their vehicle and when to take it in for maintenance.

For instance, if their tires are under inflated or don’t have enough tread, they could pop or slide on the road, creating a chain of events that could result in an accident. With that in mind, teach your teen how to check for symptoms of over-inflated tires and signs tires may need to be replaced, ensuring any new tires have an appropriate ply rating that measures strength and capacity.

As a parent, you also should discuss responsible driving behaviors and what to do in the case of an accident. While your teen may be reluctant to have these conversations, reinforce these conversations again and again. Because if they aren’t mature enough to talk about it, then they aren’t mature enough to get behind the wheel.

When All Else Fails, Reinforce the Rules Again and Again

Despite your best efforts and intentions, the information you share with your loved one may go in one ear and right out the other; after all, teens will be teens. Still, know that your teen is bound to make mistakes and/or circumvent your advice and rules while behind the wheel.

In these instances, it’s important to reinforce the rules you previously taught them or go back to the drawing board to implement new strategies. In the end, driving can be an inherently dangerous activity, which is why you need to do everything in your power to keep your teen — and everyone else on the road — safe.

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100 Deadliest Days on the Road

Posted by Sue Scheff on May 26, 2017  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

AT&T stresses IT CAN WAIT message

Memorial Day marks the start of the 100 deadliest days , when the average number of teens dying from car crashes is 16 percent higher than the rest of the year, according to AAA. That’s because teens are on the road more during the summer months. During this time of year, more parents are also on the road while taking their kids to swim lessons, baseball, softball, summer camp, and more.

AT&T is using the Memorial Day Weekend as an opportunity to remind young drivers, and their parents, to never let their smartphones distract them behind the wheel. And a good first step is to take the pledge at www.itcanwait.com to keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone and encourage your family, friends and neighbors to do the same. AT&T launched the It Can Wait campaign in 2010 to help put an end to texting and driving. Since that time, AT&T research has revealed smartphone distracted driving has grown beyond texting to video chatting, emailing, web surfing, photo snapping, posting to social media, and more.

In addition to taking the IT CAN WAIT pledge, AT&T encourages drivers to use a free app, like AT&T DriveMode, to help curb the temptation to engage in texting while driving. This is especially important for teen drivers, since texting is their primary mode of communication. The DriveMode app silences incoming text messages and sends an auto-reply to the sender letting the person know you’re driving.

The app’s auto-mode feature automatically turns on the app when you reach 15 MPH and turns it off after you stop. And parents will receive a notification if their teen driver turns off the app. The AT&T DriveMode app is available to customers of all wireless carriers for iPhone and Android users.

AT&T has also added a virtual reality experience component to the IT CAN WAIT campaign to show the potentially deadly consequences of glancing at your smartphone while driving. You can download the free AT&T VR app and buy Google Cardboard at www.ItCanWait.com/VR to use with your smartphone to experience the IT CAN WAIT driving simulation.

Lastly, AT&T encourages you to get involved with the IT CAN WAIT movement and educate others in your community and workplace about the dangers of smartphone distracted driving. You could just save a life.

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Teen-Involved Crash Deaths Spike 10 Percent

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 12, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Teen Driving

teendriverstatWhile the rate of teen driver-involved crashes has declined significantly over the last decade, there is still significant work to be done.

A fresh look at 10 years of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows the improvements in teen-involved fatal crash rates have not been as dramatic for older teens (ages 18-20) as compared to their younger counterparts (ages 15-17), and teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a crash than adults. The report examines the differences in fatal crashes between older and younger teens, as well as by gender, and provides a set of 11 policy and best practice recommendations for states to implement.

What is the problem?

  • The analysis finds that teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their adult counterparts.
  • New data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show teen-involved fatal crashes spiked 10 percent in 2015, the first uptick since 2006.
  • According to GHSA’s new analysis, fatal crash rates for 18- to 20-year-old drivers have shown considerably less improvement over the past 10 years than for 15- to 17-year-old drivers.
  • Older teen drivers are involved in more fatal crashes than younger teens.
  • It is estimated that one in three teens is not licensed by age 18, which means that they do not benefit from graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs, which are proven to reduce crash risk by as much as 30 percent.

The report was funded through a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. The data analysis was conducted by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants, and the report was researched and written by national teen driving expert Pam Fischer.

Read the full press release here.

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Teen Driving Laws and Statistics You Need to Know

Posted by Sue Scheff on November 03, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

Teen Driving

TeenDriving4There is nothing more indicative of growing up and blossoming into an adult like picturing your teenager at the wheel. You may be reeling from the bouts of anxiety you feel from knowing that your baby is no longer safely strapped away in her car seat, but rather behind the wheel. However alarming this may be, you can help prepare yourself for this inevitable transition from child to adulthood with some light preparation.

Become Aware of the Law

Knowing you have a teenager also means that your lovely, perfect angel is also probably experimenting, making risky choices and facing peer pressure at every turn. As reported by teendriversource.org, the fatal crash rate for drivers ages 16 to 19, based on miles driven, is four times higher than for drivers ages 25 to 69. As terrifying as this may be, you can prepare by becoming aware of driving laws in your state and getting your teen involved in learning the stats specific to your state. If you live in Florida, for example, you can visit driving-tests.org to learn all of the rules that matter and are tested in this state.

Prepare for the Worst

Knowing the law is the first step in helping your teen become a safe driver. The next step is recognizing that accidents do happen and that knowing how to handle such a situation is useful in making the best out of a bad situation. You can help your teen prepare by enrolling him in courses that can help him become more savvy about how to handle tough situations. Both Driver’s Ed and Defensive Driving are excellent courses that can help your teen become a safer driver. With a little research, you can find out what the age requirements are in your state. In Washington, you can attend a Driver’s Ed course as early as 15 years old, and in Montana you can be 14 when you enroll, proving that laws vary from state to state but what remains the same is the benefit of early education.

Practice Makes Perfect

If Driver’s Ed doesn’t cut it for you in terms of preparation, you can also choose to check out other programs designed to cover what it may not. One such program, Driver’s Edge, employs professionals to specifically target the unusually high number of teen accidents. While the founding office is based out of Las Vegas, this program travels across the country and educates parents and teens alike. You can check out their offerings at driversedge.org.

Be Understanding

Teenagers are looking to make their mark in the world and rules and regulations often appear as impositions on their independence. So don’t be surprised when from time to time, they do act out and in ways that make you cringe. You can, however, make clear that the car is not the place to challenge authority by sharing stories of other teens who made choices that resulted in fatal errors.

According to health.harvard.edu, preventing driving accidents with teens can be as simple as setting the right limitations. So, instead of being concerned with where your teen is driving, consider how he is driving. By stressing the behaviors that good drivers exhibit, you can help your teen start to model these behaviors.

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