"Mom where are the car keys?" Your teen can’t wait to start driving. But I know how worried you must be about your child getting behind the wheel of a car. Although the number of auto-accidents injuries and fatalities among drivers between ages 15 and 20 is falling, accidents are still the leading cause of death for that age group. The good news: You can take steps to help keep your young drivers safer:
Limit night driving: most fatal accidents involving young drivers occur between 9 p.m. and midnight. Night driving requires more skill than driving in daylight, and young drivers may be more prone to distractions, carelessness or fatigue when driving after dark. Let your teen get plenty of daytime driving experience before you allow nighttime driving.
Restrict the number of passengers. Nearly two-thirds of teen passenger deaths occur when the driver is also a teen. Teen friends in the car may distract a novice driver. Sometimes peer passengers encourage recklessness in a normally safe young driver. Limit the number of passengers your teen may have in the car.
Choose safe wheels. That flashy red sports car or cool SUV may be your teen’s dream machine, but think "safety" when shopping for a vehicle, and look for one with protective features. For example, midsize cars typically withstand crashes better than small ones, and many newer models hold up better in crashes than older cars. Newer cars also offer improved safety features such as airbags and antilock brakes.
Be involved in your teen’s driving decisions. When are they going? Is it a high traffic volume time such as rush hour, or are the roads icy from a recent snow storm?? Where are they going? Do they have the experience to be on a highway at 65mph.
Always offer a safety net for an unsafe situation. Cell phones are a great way for teens to call home for help. How about giving your teen a "safety $20 bill" to be used for emergencies only?. Or, offer to pick them up and drive them home any time, any where if they feel unsafe.
Teen drivers don’t have to be an accident waiting to happen. You can play an active roll in helping your teen be a responsible, safe driver.
If you have any questions concerning your teen driver you can e-mail your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.