We know it’s not something you want to hear, but it’s a statistic that has to be shared. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States accounting for more than one in three fatalities in the age group. In fact, recent data shows that eight teens die every day from injuries sustained in car accidents in the U.S.
A variety of factors contribute to the high number of teen crashes including inexperience, distraction, alcohol and the refusal to wear seat belts. Cell phones, text messages, friends and substances create potentially dangerous situations for teens behind the wheel, and parents need to address each situation with their kids before letting them take to the streets.
We know it can be difficult to find the balance between being over-protective and appropriately cautious when it comes to parenting, but driving is serious business. And, because of the high number of teen fatalities, it’s a topic we know you truly don’t want to avoid. That’s why at D & R Autoworks, we encourage parents to thoroughly discuss the dangers of the road and to encourage good behavior behind the wheel.
Beyond simply talking to your kids, there are also several tips that can help you better ensure the safety of your teenage driver.
First, set a good example. If you don’t want your teenager to talk on the phone or text while driving, you need to avoid doing so yourself. If you don’t want them to break the speed limit, stay within the legal boundaries when you drive. If you don’t want them to run red lights, don’t gun it when you approach a yellow one and hope you make it through. Kids are observant, and what they see from you will resonate more loudly than what you say. Be sure you set a high bar when you’re on the road.
Second, consider limiting the number of passengers they are allowed to have in the car with them. According to the website of Mobile Oil, the risk of a teen driver being involved in an accident increases approximately 40 percent with one teen riding, doubles with two teen passengers and quadruples with three or more teen riders aboard. Don’t let your teen be the one responsible for the carpool of eight that is heading for basketball practice. Limited passengers equals increased concentration.
Along with limiting the number of friends allowed in their cars, it’s also a good idea to establish a road curfew with your young driver. The risk of accidents for teens is the greatest between 9:00 p.m. and midnight, so it’s a good idea to establish predetermined rules for hours of allowable drive time.
More than anything, communicate with your teenager. Even if you think they’re not listening to you, they are. And while they might not always like the rules, they’ll appreciate them when they are still around to teach their own kids about safe driving.
At D & R Autoworks, we love our customers—young and old—and we want you all to have a safe and fun summer. If that means establishing some family rules of the road, then we hope that’s what you’ll do. But just in case something does happen, know that we’ll be here to help.