Welcoming a new driver to the family marks a monumental step in your’s and your teen’s life. Newfound independence, fresh beginnings, and the best part (shh, don’t tell)- Mom and Dad can retrieve their forgotten groceries without taking another trip to the store. With new freedom, though, comes a whole new set of worries for parents.
The third week in October is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and at Marietta Wrecker, we are dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions for teen drivers. Knowledge and awareness is power. Let’s go over the truth and facts on teen driving.
What’s the problem? Too many of our teens are dying on the road.
- Car crashes are the #1 cause of death in teens.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of deaths for teens, ages 15 to 18 years old
- Over 99,000 teen passenger vehicle drivers were injured in motor vehicle crashes last year
- A teen passenger can increase a teen driver’s fatal crash risk by 44%
How Parents Can Make a Difference:
Do family rules help? Absolutely! Teens engage in less risky behaviors when there is an official agreement with their families about what the driver is expected to do while driving.
Parents: Get involved and SET EXAMPLES! Modeling our behavior since birth, our children and teens are paying attention, and driving is no different. It is essential that parents model excellent driving behavior and follow the rules of the road themselves – And teaching our teens to drive can also help us model better-driving behaviors, too.
Parents: Set rules and expectations for your teen driver. A parent-teen formal agreement makes a difference. A formal agreement outlines rules, privileges, and consequences for both parties. For Georgia’s Teen Driver/ Parent Agreement, visit here
Parents: Become a role model for your teen. Practice distract-free driving, free of cell phones, texting, and social media. Never drink and drive. Teens who have seen their parents drink and drive were 3x more likely to participate in driving after drinking themselves.
- Limit driving with younger passengers.
- Create a written, formal agreement with your teen. Example: New Driver Deal- https://www.idrivesafely.com/assets/drivers-ed/parent-teen-driving-contract.pdf
- Practice, practice, practice! Practice driving with your teens for at least 30 minutes each week. It is recommended that parents spend a 50 hour minimum supervising their teen’s driving. Studies show that 44% of parents do NOT spend the minimum recommendation of practice driving with their teen.
- Continue to ride with them frequently, even after they receive their license. Do you feel safe?
- Create an active dialogue with your teens. Ask them what they feel most comfortable and uncomfortable performing while driving. Work on those areas.
- Go out for a drive often with them. Instead of driving to a familiar grocery store, let your teen take you to a busy intersection, or practice merging on a highway during rush hour. The more practice the better!
- Allow your parents to correct you, too! Teaching our teens to drive can make us all better drivers.
7 Tips for Driving Safely:
- Always wear your seat belt. (You too, parents!)
- Never drink and drive.
- Texting and social media can wait. Never text and drive.
- Follow the speed limit.
- Limit the number of passengers.
- Nighttime driving is for more experienced drivers with extra practice.
- Use your voice when a driver is driving unsafely.
*Before your teen earns their license, make sure your teen driver is receiving at least 50 hours of supervised driving experience under a plethora of driving conditions.
At Marietta Wrecker, we are devoted to safe driving and teen driving awareness. We recommend parents practice with teens through ride-alongs, thirty minutes a week, for at least 6 months. A year is ideal. Travel with your teens and get involved. And most importantly, keep an open dialogue and always model excellent driving behavior. Wear your seat belt and encourage others to wear theirs, properly follow the rules of the road, and abstain from using your phone while driving.
- For more tips for safe teen driving, visit: https://dds.georgia.gov/teen-drivers
- For Georgia’s Teen Driver/ Parent Agreement, visit: https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/highway-safety/teen-driver/parent-agreement/
- For Teen Driver Laws, visit: http://www.eregulations.com/georgia/driver/teen-driving-laws/