When your teen announces that they’ve passed their driving test, which emotion dominates—excitement or anxiety? Anxiety takes over in most parents of young drivers, in the face of statistics showing that teenagers are far more likely than older drivers to text in the car or make poor judgment calls behind the wheel.
Does this mean that you should not let your teen drive? No; it simply means that you need to take extra steps to keep them safe and give them a solid foundation of driving skills.
If the worst happens and an accident does take place, take quick action to learn your options. Call Stein & Fox Accident Attorneys at 770-961-1700 for your free case evaluation.
Be the Example They Need
We’re all guilty of occasionally driving in an unsafe manner. However, to give your teen driver the best chance at building safe driving habits, you need to be a strong example as often as possible. That means putting your phone away while driving, avoiding road rage, using your turn signal, and maintaining a safe speed. The idea that a teen driver should “do as I say, not as I do” is unrealistic. They copy what they see, so make sure that what they see is worth copying.
Use Technology to Your Advantage
Technology can put teen drivers at a significant disadvantage. The lure of the phone is always there, tempting teenagers to just check that last text message or watch a friend’s Instagram story. But technology can also be a benefit when driving! There are tons of technological tools that can hold teen drivers accountable.
First, talk to your insurance agent about tools their company offers for teen drivers. Many have tech that tracks the car’s speed, location, braking speed, and more. This is transmitted to the parent’s phone, allowing them to see how fast their teen is driving and if they are driving anywhere that they shouldn’t be. In many cases, knowing that this tool is in the vehicle is enough to make teens think twice about taking unnecessary risks.
You can also look into apps that prevent drivers from using their phones while driving. There are those that sense your speed and automatically lock all phone features (except emergency calls) until the vehicle is stopped. There are also reward-based apps that literally pay money when you drive without using your phone.
Some newer vehicles have settings that make it uncomfortable or annoying to drive without a seatbelt. They might ring progressively louder alarms when the vehicle is in motion and a seatbelt isn’t buckled or even refuse to go into drive if the driver’s seatbelt isn’t on. Others send notifications to a preset phone number if a driver is not wearing their seatbelt. These are all options to consider to keep your teen safe.
Discuss Major Risk Behaviors
Teenagers often have a difficult time understanding risk. Serious car accidents are things that happen to other people, not them—in their mind, anyway. Talk to them about how one seemingly innocuous action can leave them paralyzed or dead, or leave them with the knowledge that they are responsible for another person’s death. Risky behaviors to talk about include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Not using a seatbelt
- Having too many passengers
- Driving after dark
- Driving too fast
- Using a phone while driving
Practice More Than You Think They Need
Teenagers require a surprisingly low number of practice hours before they can take their driving test. This doesn’t mean that they don’t need more practice, though. After hitting the minimum amount of hours, look at your teen’s driving critically. What do they need more practice with? How would they fare with difficult situations while driving alone? Make sure they are comfortable in a variety of areas, situations, times of day, weather types, and street types before you let them loose on their own.
Contact Stein & Fox Attorneys to Learn More About Your Options After a Crash
No matter how carefully or safely your teen drives, accidents do happen sometimes. When they do, it is crucial to know your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. Get the assistance you need now. Contact Stein & Fox Accident Attorneys at 770-961-1700 or get in touch with us online.