Getting their first vehicle is a huge milestone for many teenagers. It represents freedom, fun, and that first taste of being an adult. However, it is also a huge responsibility. When a teenager is behind the wheel of a car, they are responsible for keeping themselves, their passengers, and other drivers safe. So it is important that they know how to drive responsibly. If your teenager is just starting to drive, you can share important tips with them in order to keep them safe on the road.
Leave Your Phone Alone
If a teenager is driving a vehicle, they need to avoid touching their phone. No texting, no changing their music, and no phone calls while they’re behind the wheel. These things are all distractions and losing focus for even a short period of time can cause an accident.
Know Basic Car Maintenance
If you’re driving a car, you should know how to take care of it. Make sure that your teenager knows how to do things like pump gas, replace a windshield wiper, and change a tire. They might not need to do all of these things regularly, especially if your family has roadside assistance. But knowing how to take care of a situation in their car will empower them and keep them prepared to deal with the unexpected.
Avoid Driving at Certain Times
There are times when it is just not safe for a teenager to drive. These include things like snowstorms and other severe weather, but there are others they might not think of. For example, driving during a home football game for an NFL team can be dangerous. There is a 2.6% increase in crime during these games, meaning your teen might be in danger from other people. They should also avoid driving late at night or on holidays like Halloween or New Year’s Eve when there are many vehicles and impaired drivers on the road.
Wear Your Seatbelt
A seatbelt can mean the difference between life and death. If your teen is in an accident, there are massive amounts of force at work. In fact, a 35-mph crosswind pushes over 3,440 pounds of force along the side of a large trailer. This study was done by Knott Laboratory and shows the power behind these vehicles. If a car goes up against one, it can be devastating. Make sure that your teen wears their seatbelt and makes everyone in the car wear theirs as well. It might be irritating, but it could save their lives.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Don’t get behind the wheel of a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, this is a very common mistake that people make and the consequences can be devastating. According to the National Drunk Driving Statistics, Massachusetts had 8,280 DUI arrests in 2018. That’s one state in one year, but driving drunk can kill you or someone else on the road. So make sure that your teen knows not to drive after drinking even if they think they’re not that drunk and can handle it. Tell them to call you or get a ride from someone else. If they know that they have options and will not get in trouble for using those options, they’ll be less likely to risk driving drunk.
If teens begin driving without knowing the basics, it can be a very frustrating experience for both you and them. Make sure that you give them the information that they need in a way that they understand. By providing important information in a caring, non-judgmental way, you have a better chance of connecting with them and making them understand how important it is to take responsibility while driving. This will keep them safe, as well as help them take care of their passengers, their car, and everybody else on the road.