By this point, we’ve all heard of the dangers of texting while driving. And, we know that teenagers are frequent culprits.
But, while texting is a problem, focusing on it exclusively can distract from the other serious dangers that teen drivers face. If you have a young driver in your life, talk to them about these safety risks. You could very well save their life.
Driving too fast
Teens aren’t great at assessing risk. In fact, they’re pretty terrible at it. Teens speed, not because they’re trying to be reckless, but because driving fast can be fun, and they don’t understand how dangerous it really is.
As an adult, you know that all it takes is one sharp turn to lose control of your car. You know that at high speeds you wouldn’t be able to stop in time to avoid a child or animal that darted out into the road. But, teens don’t understand these risks; not like you do. Talk to them about just how dangerous speeding can be.
Having friends in the car
Even a low-key conversation can be distracting for a novice driver. A group of rowdy teens may very likely be too much to handle.
Teens like to egg each other on, and things can escalate quickly. This is especially true for boys. Even an otherwise responsible teen can get caught up in the hype, or might not want to tell his friends to calm down for fear of seeming uncool.
Talk to your teen about these dangers. As a parent, it is ok for you to set limits about who can be in the car with your child, even if those limits are stricter than those set by Georgia’s graduated driver’s license law. You know your child, and what they can handle, better than anyone.
Not wearing a seat belt
In addition to being bad at recognizing risk, teens also have a nasty habit of believing bad things won’t happen to them.
This isn’t an issue of a child being smart or not. “Teenage invincibility” has been around for as long as there have been teenagers. But, when cars are involved, it can be fatal.
Wearing a seatbelt is the best way to prevent serious injury or death in the event of an accident. Make sure your teen knows to buckle up, every time, even for short trips. While you’re at it, check yourself – are you setting a good example? Actions speak much louder than words.