As a parent, you can probably remember your own excitement when you first learned to drive and headed out with the keys to the family car to drive somewhere on your own. Driving is a rite of passage for most teens, and now your own teen is ready to take the plunge.
Before you hand over the keys, there are some road safety tips that you may want to go over with your teen before their first road trip. While your teen may think that he or she is indestructible, remind them of the importance of driving safely and responsibly.
Basic rules of safety may seem obvious, but reminders never hurt. Seatbelts save lives, and your teen should be wearing his or her seatbelt whenever they are behind the wheel or riding in a car.
Stay alert to other cars that are nearby. Use all the mirrors to notice if another car is trying to pass or opening a door on the side of the road. Use headlights whenever visibility is reduced.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Getting a license isn’t a graduation date that frees your teen from remembering and following the rules of the road. Some rules that they should continue to keep in mind include:
· Stop at red lights and stop signs
· Use turn signals
· Follow the speed limit
· Slow down at intersections and pedestrian crossings
· Don’t cross a solid yellow line
· Allow plenty of distance between them and the car in front of them
· Avoid responding to road rage in other drivers
· Don’t drink and drive
· Avoid driving while sleepy or fatigued
Stay in the right-hand lane if driving slowly. Remember that pedestrians have the right of way and that when your teen is driving, they are not in any kind of speed contest. Drive at a reasonable speed within the speed limit, and always pay attention to surroundings. Vigilance is the best preventative measure for avoiding a car accident.
Distractions cause thousands of unnecessary accidents for both teens and adults. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 390,000 people were injured in auto accidents involving distracted driving in 2015. Teens are often especially distracted by cell phones, particularly by texting. Texting has become somewhat of an addictionfor many Americans over the last decade. There is nothing in a text or a cell phone call that can’t wait until the driver has pulled off the road and can safely respond.
There are many other possible distractions for teen drivers. Groups of teens who are passengers should avoid distracting the driver. Your teen driver should also avoid being distracted by the radio or GPS and should take a break if they are feeling tired. Activities such as eating or putting on makeup can also wait until they are no longer driving.
Your teen should avoid speeding or driving recklessly and should always slow down if conditions are dark, foggy or wet. Mistakes they make while driving can endanger not only them and their passengers but other innocent drivers.
Remind your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right. As long as your teenager follows these safety tips, they are proving that they are responsible drivers and that they will be able to continue to enjoy this privilege.
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