As a parent, you may find that it’s tough to talk with your teen about safe driving. This is because most teens tend to think that they are invincible. They may not realize the risk of getting into a car accident or consider the consequences of a crash.
Unfortunately, research shows that teens are in the age group with the highest risk of getting into a crash – especially during the first few months after they get their driver’s license. Some of the dangerous driving behaviors that teens often exhibit include:
- Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving
- Speeding and aggressive driving (such as tailgating)
- Trying to interact with passengers while driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
To help your teen to steer clear of those dangerous behaviors, you can start your discussion by talking about the numbers. For instance, in 2015, roughly one out of every eight licensed male drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 in South Carolina was involved in a crash, according to the S.C. Department of Public Safety. Additionally, about one out of every nine female drivers in that age group got into a wreck.
However, scary statistics may not do the job. The better approach may be to listen to what your teen has to say and to simply give solid, practical advice. Here is a checklist you can follow:
- Ask first. Find out if your teen knows anyone who has been seriously hurt in a car accident? Does the teen know anyone who takes risks while driving? What does your teen think of that? By asking questions, you can get your teen to talk about driving in an open and honest way.
- Express your concerns. Do you want your teen to drive with multiple passengers in the car? Are you concerned that your teen may try to talk on the phone or text while driving? Do you know if your teen drives to parties and, possibly, consumes alcohol before driving? Let your teen know about your concerns and set down firm rules. Those rules, at a minimum, should be:
- No more than one passenger at a time.
- Always put down (or turn off) your cell phone when you drive.
- Never consume alcohol (because you are underage) and never drive after drinking.
Remember: You can express your concerns without accusing your teen of any wrongdoing. You can let your teen know that your rules simply reflect the law and good common sense.
- Discuss good driving habits. Your teen went through driver’s education classes in order to get a license. However, those classes don’t cover every scenario. Talk with your teen about different driving situations that he or she may encounter. Discuss how your teen can navigate those situations safely.
- Suggest smartphone apps. Distracted driving is a major concern. You may want to discuss different smartphone apps that can help your teen to focus on driving instead of the phone. For instance, some apps block calls and text messages while a car is in motion.
Too often, people stereotype teens as being unwilling to listen and take advice. However, you may find that your teen truly wants to listen and learn more about driving safely, and that your teen appreciates your advice.
Get Help from a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
No matter how hard you try to prevent it, a car crash can still happen to any driver – young and old alike. If a negligent driver hurts you or a loved one in an auto accident, just call Joye. Our law firm will provide a free and timely review of your case, protect your rights and pursue full compensation for your losses. Contact us today to learn more.