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Preparing Your Teens To Avoid Accidents

Earning a driver’s license is a rite of passage for the majority of American teens. It is a moment to be celebrated. However, it is also a moment understandably feared by parents. It is now well understood that drivers are at a higher risk of being involved incar accidents during their first few years behind the wheel than at any other point in their driving careers. Thankfully, there are several things that parents can do to help their novice teen drivers avoid serious accidents during this critical time.

First, understand that regardless of how peaceful your relationship with your teen is at this moment in time, you remain his or her primary role model for driving behavior. Studies confirm again and again that teens pick up the majority of their driving habits first and foremost from their parents. Therefore, it is critically important that you model safe behavior and spend time with your teen while he or she is learning to drive.

Second, it is important to set expectations related to driving and enforce consequences when those expectations are not met. Driving is a serious business that can get people killed if not approached in a safety-minded and conscientious manner. If your teen violates passenger restriction rules, night driving restrictions or other critical safety issues, it is important that you reinforce how serious these violations of expectation are.

Third, please educate your teen and prepare him or her for safe driving. Teach your teen about the hazards of distracted driving, the importance of avoiding driving while fatigued or emotionally strung out and how to drive in inclement weather. Experience and good modeling will help your teen remain safe behind the wheel now and into the future.

Source: Los Altos Town Crier, “Steering teens in the right direction: Tips for teaching your children how to drive,” Gary and Genie Anderson, Feb. 27, 2013