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Teen Drivers

A Parent’s Guide to Protecting Teen Drivers in 2017

Posted by Sue Scheff on January 20, 2017  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

It’s 2017, and iPhones are everywhere. As a result, distracted driving is the talk of the town. According to some sources, it’s even more dangerous than drinking and driving, which is on the decline. However, it’s also important to remember the dangers that drinking and driving pose to our teenagers.

Distracted driving kills 8 people per day, while drinking and driving kills an average of 24 people per day. It gets worse. According to the Center for Disease Control, teenagers are 17 times more likely to die from an accident when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% (the legal limit for adults). Now for the good news. Since 1991, the number of teens who admit to drinking and driving has decreased by 51%. The Center for Disease Control attributes this decline to four factors:

  1. Minimal Legal Drinking Age:
  2. Zero Tolerance
  3. Graduated Driver Licensing:
  4. Parental Involvement

Minimal Legal Drinking Age laws restrict alcohol consumption for all individuals under 21, while Zero Tolerance laws make it illegal for minors to drive with any blood alcohol content. These laws are present in all 50 states. Graduated Driver’s Licensing laws grant additional driving privileges as drivers gain experience. These programs include provisional licenses and learner’s permits. They are also present in all fifty states, but they differ widely. Click here for a guide to GDL programs in every state.

Parental Involvement is the biggest the biggest variable by far. So, how can you keep your teenager safe on the road? First, you need to accept that your child may drink. You also need to assure them that you will be there for them if and when they run into trouble. This could mean paying for an Uber, ordering a cab, or picking them up. The goal is to dissuade your teenager from drinking and driving by offering a better alternative: judgement-free help.

You can also help them build good habits while they earn their learner’s permit. A driving contract is a perfect way to establish guidelines and encourage good driving habits. An effective driving contract should include guidelines for your child, but it should also describe the consequences for breaking those guidelines. Your contract could include some of the following guidelines:

  • Never drink and drive
  • Never text and drive
  • Always wear a seat belt
  • Always obey speed limits
  • Only drive between the hours of 6:00 AM and 12:00 PM
  • Only drive with a maximum of one (1) other teenager

Possible consequences might include grounding, additional chores, or the inability to drive for a set time. Guidelines and consequences will differ for every family. Just make sure to communicate openly with your spouse and your child as you draft a contract that you can all agree on.

If your budget has room for a car, you can also purchase a teen-friendly vehicle. Used cars will give you the most bang for your buck, especially because many teenagers will crash within their first month on the road. If you’re going shopping, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a comprehensive guide to purchasing a vehicle for your teenager. Here are a few of the takeaways:

Above all, the most important thing you can do is to model safe behavior. If your child sees you talking on the phone, driving under the influence, or driving recklessly, they’ll learn from you. As you continue into 2017, remember that you are the biggest influence on your teen’s safety. Drinking and driving is already on the decline. Keep it up, and we will eventually eliminate DUI. Distracted driving, you’re next.

Contributor: Jayson Goetz is a young writer whose work primarily focuses on educating readers about the effects of science and technology on today’s society.

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How to Keep Teen Drivers Safe

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 03, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

TeenDriver55If you’re a parent with children old enough to drive, you’ve probably worried about their safety behind the wheel more than once. The fact that many teens are now using their smartphones while driving doesn’t help the situation, either.

And the scary truth is that drivers who text while operating a vehicle are 23 times more likely to become involved in a car accident. While this statistic may be unnerving to you as a parent, you have the power to influence how your teen drives. Lead by example as a safe driver, while also being vocal about your expectations of your children as they drive.

Unless you speak up, your child will be more prone to bad driving habits that can lead to an otherwise preventable accident.

Face the Cold, Hard Facts

According to driving-tests.org, motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of death amongst teens. This means every time your teen gets in a car, they are at risk of becoming involved in an accident, caused either by themselves or by other teen drivers. If your teen didn’t know this simple fact already, share it with them to raise awareness of the general dangers they face on the road.

Remind them the months of July, August and September are among the most dangerous months to drive. Even just being aware of the potential dangers of driving can do much to prevent accidents. As your teens learn more about the risks of driving, they will feel a greater sense of responsibility as well.

No Do-Overs: Speak Up Now

On average, more than 75 percent of teen driver-related crashes are due to “critical errors,” including driving at unsafe speeds, distracted driving and lack of scanning. Teens are more susceptible to drive at high speeds and text. As a result, they are often unaware of important traffic signs and signals. These are among the reasons why more than 35 percent of the leading causes of death for 15- to 20-year-olds in the U.S. are car-related.

As a parent, it’s your duty to teach your teen about how they can be safer drivers. Encourage them to pay close attention to their mirrors and blind spots as they drive, put their phones on silent, and arrive home at a reasonable time. If they complain about having a curfew, remind them of the sobering fact that more than 40 percent of teen auto deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Even beyond just the scope of driving, you will be teaching them a valuable life lesson: their actions not only affect themselves, but those around them.

Don’t be timid in openly communicating with your teen the expectations you have for them when they are behind the wheel. Have an honest and open conversation with them without the tone of lecturing and nagging. Express their safety is your highest priority and that they should have the same perspective when driving.

As you continually remind your children to be careful while driving, it will dawn on their minds that driving is not just a matter of fun, but also a matter of responsibility. While they may not become model drivers overnight, with consistent reminders from you and time to mature, your children will become safer, more responsible drivers on the streets.

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Tips for Teen Drivers for Road Safety

Posted by Sue Scheff on October 03, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Teen Help

TeenDriving_4There is much excitement in a teen’s life when he gets his driver’s license. A new world of freedom is open, one that makes him far more independent from his parents. But there is some info teens should know before they hit the road. Here are some driving tips every parent should cover before he gets behind the wheel

Driving is a Privilege

Driving is a privilege that can be revoked, by parents or by the law. A safe driver keeps everyone happy. Have a heart to heart with your teen about the dangers of driving. Don’t avoid the uncomfortable subjects. Eleven percent of all alcohol consumption in the U.S. is done by young adults between the ages of 12-20, and there is a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinkers. As a parent, you have the authority to revoke a license. Also, every traffic citation on his record increases the insurance premium. Hold him responsible for any tickets or increases in insurance because of careless or reckless driving.

Be Prepared

There are stretches of more than 100 miles in the U.S. with no gas stations. US 70 in Eastern Utah has a stretch of 105 miles without services. If your teen has a road trip planned, make sure he leaves the house prepared. It’s important to keep an empty gas can in the trunk. GasBuddy is also a helpful app that locates the best gas deals in your area. This can be helpful when the needle nears empty on a long trip. Perils of road tripping abound. Check out this infographic to help your teen be super prepared.

FINAL NEXEN TIRE BUYER IG

Attribution to TireBuyer.com

Put Down The Phone

Talk to your teen about phone use. While it depends what state you live in, most states have strict laws concerning the hand use of smartphones while behind the wheel. A ticket and raised insurance cost are drawbacks of smartphone use while driving, but the distraction could be fatal.

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Teen Drivers Have Higher Death Rate During Summer Months

Posted by Sue Scheff on June 12, 2015  /   Posted in Parenting Teens

TeenDriver5According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the summer months of June, July, and August consistently have higher teenage crash deaths than any other month.

Car crashes are still the number one killer of teens today – no matter what others (sales-reps) may share with you, making sure your child has safe driving habits is a priority.

As a parent of an at-risk teen, this is another added worry we simply didn’t need however must take extremely seriously.

Whether you are concerned about your child experimenting with drugs, alcohol, hanging with the wrong group of friends or addicted to their electronics and not socializing in real-life, if your teen is of driving age — teaching your child to operate a vehicle safely is not only critical to their life, but to the others on the road.

Seat belts:  Did you know that teens, compared to other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use and the majority of teens involved in fatal crashes are unbelted. Set an example by always buckling up yourself — whether they’re in the car or not!

Distracted Driving  is still a major cause of crashes.  Many teens believe they are invincible.  They may watch their parent send a quick text, answer a call or even type an email while driving.  The excuse?  They are a more experienced driver.

It’s doesn’t fly!  Teenagers believe they are just as savvy with their cell phones as the parent – after all, they are probably more social media savvy online than they are.

Reality check> No one, at any age, especially with a teen or child in the car, should be driving and texting or using any gadget.  You are that role model for your future driver.

Scenario:  You drop lipstick, cell phone, debit card, or anything while you driving – and you are diligently trying to retrieve it.  This is distracted driving.  What people don’t understand is, distracted driving isn’t always about devices.

I recently discovered a nifty little product I happened upon called the Drop Stop.

DropStopDrop Stop has made it their mission not only to catch all your small belongings that INEVITABLY fall in the gap between your seats, but to eliminate distracted driving in doing so.

Your teen drops their phone, their jewelry, their credit card etc., while they’re driving. It falls between the gap. They look down, and down, and down, and… crash. With Drop Stop, they won’t have to look down, ever. If anything ever falls, they’ll know right where to find it, and it’ll be there safe and sound once they park.

If your teenager has their own car, or even for  the family cars, this cost-effective product could potentially save lives.

Remember parents, you are the number one influence on your teen. 

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