Every parent fears for their child’s safety, whether it’s when they’re swimming in the backyard pool, riding a bike through the neighborhood, or playing in contact sports. In fact, it’s rare that a day goes by when a loving parent isn’t stressing about something that their child is doing either at home or away.
Many parents would probably say that they’re a nervous wreck every time their teenage son or daughter gets behind the wheel of an automobile. Since May is National Youth Traffic Safety Month, we think it’s important that we share some simple tips that you can pass along to your teen driver to keep him or her safe and sound on the road.
Don’t Text and Drive
Taking your eyes off the road long enough to type out a text is a surefire way to put yourself in danger. According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving increases the risk of being in a crash by an incredible 23 times. Teens (and adults) must learn never to text while driving no matter how important they think sending a message is.
Ease Off the Pedal
Speeding is a double-edged sword: not only does it increase the likelihood of having an accident, it makes those accidents much worse. Teens are excited about getting from one place to another on their own, but if they don’t get there safely, what’s the point? You need to teach your children that while speeding might be exciting, this isn’t a movie or a video game – speeding has real-life consequences that they might not walk away from.
Always Buckle Up
Just recently, a teen in Texas was killed only seconds after she removed her seat belt to take a selfie. The safety concerns of taking selfies at inopportune times should certainly be discussed, but the lesson that we’re going to concentrate on is that you should never remove your seat belt for any reason. Even if the car is stopped at a red light, someone could crash into you, and having your seatbelt off for only a few seconds can have fatal consequences. If your teen must take off his or her seat belt, tell them to park in a designated parking area to do so.
Never Drink and Drive
Even though drinking underage is illegal, every parent out there knows that it happens. The best way to curtail the extremely dangerous habit of driving while intoxicated is to sit down and explain the dangers to your teen and devise plans and options to keep them safe. Ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft are one option for getting home safety. The use of a designated driver or calling a sober friend or relative are also good solutions. And the second rule here is to never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
Avoid Drowsy Driving
Being behind the wheel while you’re half-asleep is one of the most dangerous things that anyone can do, regardless of their age or how long they’ve been driving. Tell your teen that if he or she is feeling too tired to drive, they should stay right where they are and rest. If it’s a situation where they must leave, the aforementioned ride-sharing programs, or calling an alert friend or family member, can get them home safely. The inconvenience of picking up their car the next day is always a better option than dealing with the aftermath of a crash due to falling asleep behind the wheel.
We all need to pitch in and do what we can to keep our young people safe. Mintz Law Firm hopes you can help by passing along the word about National Youth Traffic Safety Month and talking to both your younger children and teens regarding your concerns. If you have any concerns or questions about traffic safety or any traffic incident you’ve experienced, reach out to our firm for a free initial consultation.