We spend our whole adult lives trying to keep our children safe and sound. Then one day they turn 16 and we are faced with the biggest safety challenge of all – handing over the keys to the car! It is a daunting task to teach them to drive, but it is even harder to let them go on that first solo trip. To be sure your teen (and you) are ready, here are some good rules to live by:
- Always Buckle Up – driver and all passengers should be buckled up before the key is in the ignition. It is simple, seatbelts save lives!
- No Cell Phones while driving – NO exceptions! Texting is a no-no – it requires a driver to take eyes off the road and at least one hand off the wheel. Almost half (43%) of teens admit to texting and driving. While states are cracking down with new laws, it is imperative that parents and kids know the danger of texting and driving.
- No extra passengers – teens are easily distracted by others and prone to take greater risks due to peer pressure or perceived peer pressure. Eliminate this tendency by limiting the number of passengers a teen can drive (some states do this for you) in the 1st year of driving.
- No alcohol – the risk of getting in an accident while driving and drinking are well known and documented. Another thing to point out to your teens is the consequences of breaking the law, even if no one gets hurt in an accident. They can include jail time, loss of driving privileges, attorney’s fees, court costs, fines and insurance fees. It is also possible that a teen could lose academic eligibility, college acceptance and scholarship awards.
- Slow Down – Not just “don’t speed”, this also means do not rush between things or to get home for curfew. When we hurry, we make mistakes and any misstep while driving can be deadly.
Most of all show your kids safe driving behavior – we are their role models, and actions always speak louder than words.