Steering Young Drivers Towards Safety

For a teen, driving is a right of passage into young adulthood. However, any dad with a youngster behind the wheel should be aware that their first year of driving could be their most dangerous. Steering your kids out of harm’s way starts with simply talking to them about safe driving habits or leading by example. Here are some pointers for dads dealing with young drivers.

Steering Young Drivers Towards Safety
Steering Young Drivers Towards Safety
"a good drive was had by all" by Robert Couse-Baker is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Driving habits are learned and that could very well mean good and bad. Your child ultimately learns from watching you, so setting an example for your kids is crucial. Be conscious of the way you drive and try to be the driver you want your kids to be.

Remind them that they are in control while driving. Coach them on telling their passengers that they must focus their attention on the road.

Distractions can be anything that takes your attention away from the road and it includes more than just talking on cell phones or texting. Simply tuning the radio, daydreaming, or even being too tired can all be dangerous driving distractions. Recap with your teen to always stay alert when behind the wheel.

During the holidays, when school is especially not in session, it is common to see teens piling up into a car and racing off to have fun. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. Whether it is getting into a vehicle with a drunk driver or simply a negligent and irresponsible speedster, speak to your kids about the factors that put them at risk.

Between the ages of 21 to 25, the rate of drunk driving is the highest. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 200 children were killed in a drunk driving related accident in 2011. Of those children, 54% were riding with a drunk driver. Fatal crashes involving drunk driving are more likely to happen at night than during the day, and more likely to happen on the weekends than during the week.

Empower your kids to say something to friends if they feel uncomfortable getting into the vehicle. It is true that you cannot be with them all of the time, so practicing with them on what to say will help them speak up in a potentially dangerous situation.

Remember to stay patient with your young drivers as you guide them along the way. Becoming a good driver takes time and with proper coaching and guidance, your children will learn safe and responsible driving habits.

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