Discussing Safe Driving with Teens

This summer, your teenager may be hitting the road for the first time, or driving further than their usual routes. Summer jobs, roadtrips, and moving for college can mean letting teens go further afield than before. Prepare your teenager for responsible driving well in advance to help ensure their safety on the road.

Seatbelts: A Non-Negotiable Necessity

The invention of the modern seat belt changed the face of the auto industry and has prevented millions of deaths and serious injuries worldwide. Yet, according to the CDC, only 86% of Americans wear their seat belt, and auto accidents remain the biggest cause of death in the United States for those under the age of 54.

Auto fatalities are highest in the 16-24 year-old age range, according to safecar.gov, with 53% of teenagers involved in fatal crashes not wearing seat belts. Unfortunately, not all young drivers can be trusted to buckle up even if an adult modeled excellent seat belt usage. Tell your teen they should never take “no” for an answer when it comes to every passenger in the vehicle wearing a seat belt.  

Distracted Driving: A Modern Epidemic

Distractibility causes many of the minor collisions involving teens. Emphasize at all times that road safety is the first priority when driving. Phone calls, texting, loud talking, and too much activity from other passengers in the vehicle can distract any driver. Unfortunately, teens are far more likely to be involved in collisions or near-collisions while texting.

Although texting while driving is now illegal in 39 states and Washington, DC, 23% of all accidents in the United States involve cell phones, resulting in over 1.3 million crashes in 2011 alone. Unfortunately, many teens feel confident they can text, websurf, or talk on their phone while driving, and justify this habit by claiming their parents do it, too. Being a good example, and having your teen sign a “no cell phones” pledge can help him or her resist the temptation to reach for the phone.

Good Judgment: A Learning Curve

Learning how to drive involves practicing good judgment on the road. Many teen accidents are due to the “learning curve” of judging distances and hazards. Examples include underestimating the danger of road conditions, such as wet and icy surfaces, following another vehicle too closely, and driving too fast at night. Remind your teen of how to adjust for various road conditions, and what to do in case of an emergency.

With your help, your teen will have the confidence they need to get themselves from point A to point B safely.   

Skinner & Associates of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, provide trustworthy, knowledgeable legal services to our clients in the central Ohio area. To schedule a no-obligations consultation today, please call (614) 664-0200.

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