A major lifetime milestone is the first time parents officially hand their 16 year old teen keys to a vehicle. Heavy with meaning and importance, such a momentous event carries so many implications. Road safety should always be one of them.
All parents want what’s best for their kids, and keeping kids safe, happy, and healthy is continually at the forefront of most parents’ thoughts in St. Petersburg and elsewhere. Nowhere is this well-placed concern for teen safety more evident than when it comes to road safety for teens. Fortunately, reducing worries and fears can occur when parents provide their teens with the right training, preparation, tools, and education to keep them driving safe and smart on the road.
When teaching your teenager how to drive, education is key. Research into what keeps teenagers safe on the road indicates that parents are the number-one influence on safe driving habits. Keep instructions simple, clear, and easy to recall so teens can more readily and efficiently retain and utilize the resources you provide. Communication will be crucial in providing the knowledge and engaging your teen in learning and retaining smart driving safety strategies.
When talking to your teen about road safety, create a positive and open communication environment. Take an active role in your teen’s driving education. At the same time, don’t be so overbearing that you don’t allow the teen to make a mistake.
Remember, this is a learning process and errors will be par for the course. Helping kids navigate and fix these errors is way more effective and lasting than screaming at them every time they do something wrong. Be open, positive, and nurturing to effect lasting results.
Be clear: establish rules, incorporate consequences, and explain why. Studies indicate that parents who set boundaries and then explain things so kids can understand will most positively instill good driving habits. For example, studies have found that teens are more likely to crash when they are driving around other teen passengers.
Set a passenger limit, explain why and what will happen if the rule isn’t followed, and stick to it. Similarly, another risk factor is use of cell phones while driving. Prohibit cell phone use while driving to reduce this risk.
Be a good role model. As with so many things, kids model themselves after parents and pay close attention to parents’ actions. Practice good driving habits yourself to model road safety in Saint Petersburg. No cell phones while driving should be observed by parents and teens alike. Seatbelts prevent accidents, so parents also need to buckle up to model smart and safe driving. Otherwise, you might need the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
Practice, practice, practice: Data analysis reveals that crashes involving teenagers are most often related to two factors: inexperience and nighttime driving. Allowing practice time – a lot of practice time – will help address inexperience. Practice at different times of the day as well, so teens have the opportunity to become accustomed to driving in a variety of circumstances.
If you communicate with your teens, set clear driving boundaries and rules, model good road behavior, and provide ample practice time, you are well on the way to helping your teen drive safe, smart, and stay alive.