It has been reported that teenage drivers have the highest crash rate of all age groups on the road today. Along with the highest crash rate, drivers in their teens to mid twenties also have the highest fatality rate. Here's a few things you can do to help transition your son(s) or daughter(s) from inexperience to matured drivers:
- Start Extra Early: Children are sponges and very impressionable. When they see you cursing at traffic and driving with "road rage" they will likely take that cue as acceptable road behavior. Always remind yourself when you are getting on the road, that your little one is in the back seat watching everything you do. YOU ARE THEIR HERO! Act like it! Also refrain from talking on the phone, texting while driving, eating while driving and other distracting behavior. Show them how you check your mirrors regularly, use turn signals, and always wear your seatbelt. Explain what all road signs mean, obey them, and don't speed.
- Getting Ready to Hit the Road: When your teen is getting ready to get behind the wheel, make sure you set aside time to be in the vehicle with them. Practice as much as possible in all conditions.
- Heading out on their own: Ready, Set, Wait! Did you set some boundaries with your teen driver? When can they drive? How far away from home can they go? Are they allowed to have passengers in the vehicle with them? It's a good idea to set time limits, distance limits, and require permission to have passengers in their vehicle. Keeping them off the road after dark is a good place to start with time parameters. While, letting your teen drive three hours down the shore is not a great idea. Keeping passengers out of the vehicle while your teen gets some practice is a good idea. While letting them take five of their buddies down the shore with them, is not.
- Make and Stick to Verbal or Written Agreements: Sit your teen down and let them know what they are responsible for. Including; Gas, Maintenance, Insurance costs...
- Enforce ZERO tolerance rules: Absolutely no drinking and driving and no cell phone use or texting when behind the wheel. Make sure they know the consequences of breaking any of these rules will be. For example, taking away evening driving privileges after they've worked hard to earn them, or striping all use of the vehicle for a set period of time, or banning passengers from their vehicle.
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- Information courtesy of PIANJ and Borgos, Hanlon, Henry and Garcia
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