A teenager’s life is greatly changed once they receive their driver’s license. It gives them a sense of independence and a feeling of being free. But unfortunately, many teenagers are at risk of meeting accidents when on the road.
Teen driving fatalities tend to rise at an alarming rate over the years. Statistics show how high the risks are for teens among 15 to 20 years old and it tends to happen on the first 12 months of driving on their own. The reasons behind this range from having multiple passengers in the vehicle to getting distracted by their cellphones. This marks teenagers as the most risky drivers out of all age groups.
In fact, car accidents happen to be the leading cause of teenage deaths, marking it a tragic end to such promising young lives. While accidents are on the rise, they aren’t exactly impossible to avoid. Parents should be the first to inform their children to be extra cautious before handing them the car keys.
So work with your child in taking precautions while behind the wheel. To aid you with that, here are some helpful tips in reducing the risk of car accidents for teenagers:
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Picking the right car
Convenience and safety should be considered over style. Parents should accompany their children when purchasing a vehicle firsthand. The most practical factors to keep in mind are safety, economical fuel, price-wise, and reliable. Safety, meaning, the car should be equipped with at least six airbags, outboard mirrors, and automatic transmission.
Trucks, sportscars, and large SUVs should be avoided.
Enrolling teens in a safe driver program and a safe driving course
Safe driver programs are available for all ages. It is known to effectively reduce the risk of accidents by a good 70 percent. Even insurance companies offer this, and they in turn, reduce the insurance costs for the vehicle. The goals of safe driver programs include teaching teen drivers to regulate the number of having other teen passengers in the car and reminding them of the importance of curfews and the consequences they could be facing should they break these rules. Some safe driver programs even go as far as having teens take safe drivers pledge. Needless to say, these programs aim to benefit both the teenage driver and their parents.
On the other hand, insurance companies also reduce the cost if the teen completes a safe driving course. The more practice a teen has behind the wheel, the more at ease and cautious they become in real situations. Driving lessons also are a requirement in most states when it comes to getting a valid driver’s license.
Installing a GPS tracking system
Trackimo is a conveniently sized GPS tracking device that can be installed in a car. And after a GPS device is installed on the car, parents can install the mobile application the tracker goes with on their smartphones to effectively keep their teens safe at all costs. The tricky part is usually introducing this technology to your children. Now most teenagers might not be fully on board with the idea of having their privacy being seemingly “invaded” by their parents watching them all the time.
As parents, it needs to be stressed out that these GPS devices are not for minute-to-minute monitoring but are a very big help in case of emergency. For instance, Trackimo has a feature wherein distress signals are sent at a push of button. So this feature alone is enough to keep a teen safe while on the road.
Reminding them that drug, alcohol, and driving are a lethal combination
First off, drug use should be prohibited at all costs. Second, teenagers should not even take a sip of alcohol when they are driving a car. This does not mean you should totally prohibit them from hanging out with friends completely, but it helps to discuss with teens the dangers of driving under the influence. Parents may also agree with their children to have them call to pick them up in case they feel unfit to drive.
Removing distractions like mobile phones and passengers
Merely telling teenagers to avoid checking their phone while driving is not enough. Texting while driving contributes a staggering 23 percent of fatal car accidents, and teenagers happen to be part of the demographic that feel the urge to check their phone even when behind the wheel.
Parents have another option other than having their teens turn off their phone entirely or relying on state laws to remind them to do so. An equally effective way is to install an application that blocks people from checking their mobile phones, and a lot of these are free in the market for both Android, Blackberry, Windows, and iOS users.
Other causes of distractions may be having multiple car passengers. Discourage having others in the car especially during the first year of driving, and only have teens gradually increase their passengers when they are already comfortable or fit enough to have someone in the car with them.
Setting a good example to your kids
Parents should set a good example for their teens. Being new drivers, they tend to imitate whoever accompanies them at all times, so this might just be an effective way to remind them what should be done while behind the wheel. The simple things like wearing a seat belt and obeying traffic rules will create a big impact on teenagers.
Enrolling in a Graduated Drivers License Program
A graduated licensing program or GLP provides new drivers with driving experience and skills over a three-phase program. It starts with acquiring a learner’s permit to a probational one and then a full-fledged license. Some of the conditions for new drivers include requiring supervision when behind the wheel alone, having a certain number of passengers in the car, and setting curfews for them.
Many parents take advantage of GLP, but unfortunately, not all the states provide this type of program to new drivers. Parents should then take the initiative to create a parent-child agreement contract when it comes to driving. This allows you to set your own rules and have them consent to it with the necessary consequences in case they breach any of the terms of agreement. To encourage them, do insert privileges so they would feel more obliged to follow your contract.
Parents should make it a goal to teach their teenagers to be extra cautious on the road as they pose as much of a risk to other as they do to themselves. Everything from their temperament and their logical thinking should be properly assessed before they take the wheel.