As a parent, you may be rejoicing the start of school. While it’s nice to have our children home for the summer, back-to-school time is often celebrated, at least in secret, by parents across the nation. If your teenager is going to be driving back and forth to school this year, it’s important to know that they are safe behind the wheel.
Studies have shown that teenagers are far more likely to be involved in accidents than other drivers. Teens simply don’t have the experience necessary to make all of the quick decisions that are necessary behind the wheel. Knowing that your teen has been given all the tools to drive safely can put your mind at ease. Here are some tips as you kick off the new school year with a teenage driver in your house.
When your child was learning how to drive, you taught them the right things to do. Don’t make the mistake of ending those conversations. Remind your child of your expectations, of traffic laws and of the dangers of distracted driving. Don’t assume that your child knows these things if they haven’t been discussed in your household.
Adult drivers tend to be impatient. We’ve been driving for so long that it’s old hat, and we let our good habits fall to the side. You should be the example of a safe driver every time your child is a passenger in your vehicle. Obey the traffic laws, keep your angry comments about other drivers to yourself, and keep your attention focused on the road. Your child will listen to what you say, but they will do what you do.
It’s often not enough to tell your child not to use their cell phone when they are behind the wheel. Talking and texting are very dangerous habits that can quickly lead to an accident. There are a variety of apps available for parents to install on their children’s phones. Find some of these apps in your app store and find one or two you feel would be useful. You can potentially monitor your child’s speed, locate their whereabouts and render their cell phone unusable outside of an emergency situation.
If you have an older vehicle that doesn’t have daytime running lights, make it a rule that your teen has to have their headlights on while driving. This makes any vehicle more visible, even when the sun is shining brightly.
Limit the number of passengers your child is permitted to have in the car and you limit distractions. In fact, it is illegal in many states for a teenage driver to have more than a single passenger in the car. Know the laws of your state and ensure that your child follows them. Remember that just because the law says your child can have a passenger doesn’t mean that’s what you say. In most cases, it is safer for your child to drive alone than to commute with friends.
A big part of being able to drive safely is experience. Your child will only gain experience through practice. Earning a driver’s license doesn’t mean that all practice should stop. Take your child out after school or on the weekends and expose them to highway driving, commuter driving and other situations that they may not encounter regularly. The more experience your child has, the more likely they will be able to react to hazardous situations appropriately.
If you are in the market for a new car, research safety standards, equipment and testing before you buy one. If you aren’t in the market but have a few vehicles sitting in your driveway, choose the safest one for your child to drive. No teenager should be cruising to school in a sports car if it can be avoided. Typically, the cars with the highest safety ratings are the family sedans.
No parent wants to receive a phone call saying that their child has been involved in a car accident before or after school or at any other time of day. When you take the time to help ensure that your teenager is a safe driver, you can rest a bit easier. Use the tips above to talk to your teen about driving and to show them what a safe driver looks like.
If you or your teenager are involved in a car accident in West Palm Beach that can be attributed to someone’s negligence or error, you may be legally entitled to compensation for injuries and property damage. Reach out to our team of experienced auto accident attorneys today to schedule your free case evaluation. We will talk to you about your accident and help you determine what you may be entitled to under state law.