Although teen driver fatalities have declined over the years, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of teen deaths. This makes it more important than ever for parents to be strict about teens’ behavior behind the wheel. According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), 41% of driving-age teens observe their parents regularly engaging in unsafe driving behaviors. These include habits such as texting and driving or driving fatigued. Considering the fact that parents have the highest responsibility to educate their children about safe driving, parents setting a bad example is a problematic trend.
It Starts with You
As a parent, you are the number one influence on your teen driver’s safety. Self-reported surveys show that teens whose parents impose driving restrictions and set good examples, typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer crashes. The standards you maintain as a parent will create much more of a lasting impression than anything taught in school or by a formal driving instructor.
Here’s how to get started on shaping your teen into a safe and capable driver:
- Start the Conversation Early – Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15 to 18-year-olds in the United States. Talk to your teens about safe driving early and often, before they reach driving age. But don’t stop there: Have conversations with the parents of your teen’s peers or friends and compare notes—both are key to your teens’ safety.
- Set the Standard – Talking is important, but the action is even better. Always go the extra mile by demonstrating safe driving behavior. Start by modeling good habits any time you drive them anywhere, even before they begin to drive. Make sure you, yourself, are turning off your cell phone and stowing it away, and buckling your seat belt before starting your car.
- Get It in Writing – When your teenagers begin driving, set some formal ground rules and outline the consequences for breaking them in a parent-teen contract. Consider hanging your contract by the family car keys or near the front door. This might sound excessively official, but it’s more important for your teen to appreciate that driving is a bureaucratic privilege. Anyone who drives has to deal with constant red tape.
- Spell Out the Rules – No cell phones, no passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, no driving when tired, and always buckle up. These rules could help save your teen’s life. Emphasize them firmly and recite them often.
Driving is a mandatory part of life, especially for people who live in urban areas. If you want your teens to mature into responsible drivers, you have to show them the way by setting a good example. Get involved in the learning experience with them so that you can ensure that they develop good driving habits. For more information on how Adriana’s Insurance Services can help you stay safe on the road, visit any of our offices or give us a call at 1-800-639-7654. We got you covered!