If you have a teenager who is learning how to drive, it can be scary to send them out on the road and let them maneuver a two-ton block of steel down a road at speeds upwards of 50 to 60 miles an hour. But at some point, you have to let them learn! And your main responsibility is to teach your teenager how to be a safe driver.
5 Ways to Teach Your Teenage Driver Safety
Every year, there are 6 million car accidents in the United States. More than 3 million people are injured, while 90 people die every single day. Don’t let your child become a statistic. Teach them to prioritize safety from the very first time they get behind the wheel.
Here are some pointers:
1. Emphasize Common Causes
Most car accidents can be tied to a few common culprits. According to Will Ferguson & Associates, the most common causes of car accidents include distracted driving, dangerous road conditions, intoxicated driving, reckless driving and speeding, faulty auto parts, poor repair work, and drowsy driving.
Teenagers often aren’t aware of the why behind accidents. Emphasize the common causes of car accidents with your young driver so that there are no surprises. If there are certain causes that seem to be a higher risk for your driver, focus on these.
2. Avoid Fast Lanes
Today’s children grow up playing racing video games where speed is emphasized and deadly accidents are easily overcome with a simple restart button. Unfortunately, speed kills – and there aren’t any restarts in the real world. Teach children to stay out of the fast lanes on interstates and highways.
“By using the center or right lane on multilane roads, you have more ‘escape routes’ should a problem suddenly arise that requires you to quickly change lanes or pull onto the shoulder,” writes Caroline Pardilla of Edmunds. “Most highway accidents occur in the left lane.”
3. Teach Defensive Driving
Not all car accidents can be avoided by practicing safe driving habits. There are lots of other variables at play – including other drivers. In order to help your student avoid accidents, you need to teach them some key defensive driving skills.
One of the best skills you can impart on a young driver is the habit of scanning the roadway. By looking up ahead, glancing in mirrors, and accounting for blind spots, drivers can lower their chances of ending up in an accident. (They can also plan escape routes should an accident occur.)
4. Ditch Distractions
Today’s teenagers are learning to drive in a world where distractions are aplenty – not only on the road, but also inside the vehicle. From smartphones and radios to navigation systems and in-car entertainment, it’s easy to lose focus. Unfortunately, looking away for just two or three seconds is enough to cause a deadly crash.
This will certainly be a sticking point for many teenagers, but you need to create strict rules on what sort of technology is allowed in their vehicles and how it may be used. If you’re worried about texting and driving, there are some technologies that may prove helpful.
5. Maintain the Vehicle
Many car accidents are caused by unsafe vehicles. If you want to keep your child safe, make sure you help them maintain their vehicle so that all of the various systems function properly.
Tires and brakes are especially important. Keep an eye on tires to make sure they’re properly inflated and that the tread is sufficient. Brakes and rotors should also be visually inspected from time to time. If you hear a squeaking upon pressing the brakes, this could be a sign that you need a replacement.
Set Your Child Up for Success
You’ve most likely been driving for 30 or 40 years. It’s hard to even remember a time when driving wasn’t second nature. But don’t just assume that your child will get the “feel” for driving and be safe on the road. There are a lot of variables in play and it’s up to you – as a parent – to look out for the best interests of your child (even when they think they have it all together). By harping on the importance of safe driving, you can help your teenage driver avoid accidents and stay safe.