Teen car accidents are the number one cause of teenage deaths in the United States. Every year, nearly 6,000 teenagers are killed in an automobile accident. Given this frightening statistic, it's important for you to take an active role in improving your kids driving skills.
Here are 5 simple tips that you can use to keep your teenage drivers safe:
1. Gradually Increase Their Driving Experience
Most teen car accidents happen because kids make bad driving judgments. This is because your teenage driver simply lacks the same level of driving experience that you have.
Teaching your kids how to manually drive a vehicle is the easy part. Teaching them how to deal with difficult driving scenarios, is a bit more challenging.
You can improve your teenager's driving skills by gradually building their experience with different real world conditions. For example, the next time it rains, take your teenager out for a drive. See how they handle driving a vehicle in slightly more challenging weather conditions. This can help you correct any weaknesses in their driving. Later on, you can incorporate other driving scenarios, like driving at night or on the highway.
By gradually exposing them to different driving scenarios, you can help build your kids confidence, improve their driving skills, and most importantly keep them safe.
2. Share Your Car Accident Experiences
Most teenagers don't like to be told how to drive by their parents. A good way to indirectly teach your kids about safe driving is by sharing your own car accident experiences.
Perhaps you, or someone you know, were in a car accident once. Talk to your teenager about what caused the accident, how you felt afterwards, and which consequences you had to deal with. Try to paint a vivid picture in their mind about the dangers of reckless driving.
Sharing a personal story can be a better approach than simply telling your teenager to be a safe driver. Kids often hate getting another "lecture" from mom or dad. By sharing your driving experiences, you are implicitly sharing your knowledge. This approach can make your kids be more open to your advice and have a bigger impact on improving their driving habits.
3. Reduce the Number of Passengers
Most teenager drivers are very eager to drive their friends around. However, statistics on teenage car accidents have shown that the number of teen accidents increase with each additional passenger.
To reduce the risk with your teenage driver, you should initially limit the number of allowed passengers in the vehicle to 2 or 3. Let your kids know that once they become comfortable driving with a small number of people, you will gradually allow more passengers.
This is a good compromise since your kids can still drive with their friends and you can limit the number of passenger distractions.
4. Use Seat Belts
Wearing a seat belt is often the simplest way to prevent serious car accident injuries, yet most teenage drivers ignore it. Why? The simple reason is that it is a bad driving habit. The best way to correct this bad habit is to replace it with a good habit; wearing a seat belt at all times while driving.
You should also make sure that your kids wear their seat belts before starting their vehicle. Many teenagers start to put on their seat belts after they have begun driving. This of course creates a distraction and puts them more at risk of getting into an accident.
Just like changing any habit, this can take some time to develop. However, if you consistently remind your kids to wear their seat belts, pretty soon it will be ingrained in them.
5. Be a Good Role Model
The most important thing you can do to keep your teenage driver safe is by setting a good example.
If you are unwilling to practice the safety driving tips, so will your teenager. For example, If you are unwilling to wear your seat belt while driving, what makes you think your kids will wear one?
Kids learn more from what you do, not what you say. By saying one thing and doing another, you send your kids mixed signals which can make them more prone to car accidents.
Preaching, "do as I say, not as I do" rarely works with teenagers. If you want your teenage driver to be a more responsible, it all starts with you setting a good example.
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