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When a child becomes old enough to drive, the experience can be bittersweet for parents. On one hand, they’re happy that their child has come of age and is finally sitting behind the wheel, ready to explore the world. I know I am looking forward to sending my son on some of my errands. But on the other hand, they’re scared of them getting hurt on the road. It’s terrifying!
The good news is that parents actually have a lot of control over the safety of their teenage sons and daughters. It turns out that the vast majority of accidents affecting young people are a consequence of their own actions. Not those of other road users. And because so many causes of these accidents are avoidable through good driving habits, parents have a lot more control than they think. Here are some good driving habits to teach your teen.
Habit #1: Have A Zero Tolerance Attitude To Alcohol
The law might suggest that it’s acceptable to have some alcohol in your system, but drinking even a small amount of alcohol increases your chances of having an accident. Especially if you’re not used to it.
Teens are much more susceptible to alcohol in their blood, and even a single drink can result in major impairments while driving. The implication for parents is clear: teens should be teetotal when they start the engine.
Habit #2: Avoid Unnecessarily Changing Lane
Lane changing is something that results from aggressive, not defensive driving. Reducing the number of lane changes helps to turn the child into a more passive, defensive driver. Many accidents involving young people result from maneuvers on the road which require lane changing. Like getting on the highway, as well as passing on single lane roads.
Passing is dangerous, not only because of the risk of unseen oncoming traffic but also because there may be another driver in their blind spot. Defensive driving automatically reduces this risk by avoiding these hazards entirely.
Habit #3: Respect The Speed Limit To Avoid Accidents
One of the reasons it’s a good idea for teens to take driving practice tests is that they allow them to get a feel for how fast they should be driving on the road. Speeding is easy to do, especially when you’re not used to driving, which teens usually aren’t. When you’re riding along with a teen driver, keep an eye on the speedometer and tell them when they’re going too fast.
Habit #4: Turn Off The Phone
According to data from the American Automobile Association, over 60 percent of accidents involving teens are caused by a mobile phone in one way or another. Cell phones, as we all know, are a source of constant distraction that can take our children’s eyes off the road ahead.
Try to institute a policy where your child’s cell phone lives in the glove box until the car has come to a complete stop. They can use it again when they have left the vehicle. Turning off the phone and keeping it out of sight limits temptations. Like checking what’s happening on Facebook every five minutes.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.