These Tips Could Save Your Teen Driver’s Life

I found this article today at http://shermanoaks.patch.com and wanted to share it with by blog readers. It is a very great and powerful article about teen drivers!

Traffic accidents are the major cause of teen deaths. Parents who serve as good role models for a young driver can help prevent a tragedy.

For first responders, it’s a scene that has become all too commonplace. One moment an entire family is driving home from a local outing and just blocks from their residence. In the next moment, they’re involved in a horrific traffic accident that either completely or nearly kills the entire family.

After firefighters work feverishly, using the Jaws of Life to pry apart steel wrapped around steel, to get to the injured parties, they often find out that the accident involved a teenage driver. And many of those teen drivers become fatalities as well.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2009 there was a total of 3,081 fatal traffic accidents (these are the latest stats) on California’s highways. Of those, 351 involved drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers and young drivers in this age bracket across the nation, and the causes are many, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles:

* Unsafe speed: 35 percent.

* Not yielding the right of way: 20 percent.

* Improper turns: 15 percent.

* Alcohol-related: 5 percent.

An ever increasing statistical bracket is distracted drivers (texting, cell-phone usage, other teens in the car).

In a huge proportion of cases, these fatalities are preventable because they involve unnecessary risk taking, not wearing seat belts and lack of skill. The risk of accidents is three times higher when driving at night and 3.6 times higher when other passengers are in the car.

Although overall statistics for teen-related traffic deaths are down, many of the habits that our teen drivers learn begin at home. As parents, we have more influence than we sometimes know. So these tips, accompanied by some strong parenting, can help make your teen’s driving experience a little safer:

1) Never expect that your teen driver is going to learn everything from driver’s training courses. They need practice, and lots of it! Schedule times for them to drive, first in unpopulated areas, and then when you’re comfortable, heavier traffic areas.

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2) The fruit never falls far from the tree. If you drive like an idiot, then what do you expect from your teen? They need a strong role model who can explain, not only how, but why you do the things you do. Use a lot of teachable moments.

3) Always insist on using seat belts at all times! This is something that should be taught to them almost from birth. Remember, “Click It or Ticket.”

4) Limit nighttime driving and additional passengers in the car. You know when your teen driver is ready to take on more responsibility. There’s no rush to drive at night.

5) “Take this phone and shove it!” Need I say more? Put them in the trunk, keep them in the back seat, and remove any temptation to text or talk on the phone. And you can’t keep constantly calling them to ask their whereabouts if this tip is going to work.

6) Drinking and driving is a no-brainer. It’s unacceptable and should be subject to severe consequences if the law doesn’t have its way with your teen first

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