Teen safety behind the wheelBack to school is about more than meeting new teachers and friends, hitting the books again, and school supplies. For parents of teens who drive, or those who ride with new teen drivers, it is also a time of concern.
Back to school is about more than meeting new teachers and friends, hitting the books again, and school supplies. For parents of teens who drive, or those who ride with new teen drivers, it is also a time of concern.
“One of the most important rules and role for parents is to be interactive with their kids,” Christopher Gardner, a local Allstate agent, told the Budgeteer. “On our website, parents can sit down and go through the safe driving habits through interactive games and connections to social media.”
According to an Allstate press release, more than 3,000 teens are killed and approximately 300,000 injured in automobile crashes each year.
Teen drivers also have the highest crash risk of any age group, with the problem worst among 16 year-olds, who have the most limited driving experience behind the wheel.
In the release, St. Paul, Minn. Allstate agent Tom Baecker suggests that parents consider the following guidelines for safe teen driving.
Put a limit on the number of passengers in the car. Teens are likely to have more trouble focusing on the road with laughter, music, food and other distractions, all of which increase with the number of passengers in the car.
“Allstate has a program called ‘X the TXT’ which
focuses on reducing distractions in the car, whether that is a cell phone, texting or music,” Gardner said.
“Distraction is the most common reason for accidents.”
Establish and enforce a house curfew.
Insist that your teen and his or her passengers always use seat belts. Teens tend to wear seat belts less often than other drivers. Remind your teen that the presence of airbags doesn’t mean he or she can ignore seat belts.
Make sure your teen keeps the cell phone turned off. Talking on the phone is a dangerous distraction. It can give a teen the reaction time of a 70-year old.
Limit or supervise your teen’s driving during times of high risk. In 2005, the highest number of fatal teen driving
accidents occurred on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Also in 2005, one-half of teen crash deaths happened
between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m.
Set driving area limits. If your teen wants to travel outside your town or city, require that he or she request
Prohibit driving or riding with others under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your teen should know that you’ll always be willing to pick up him or her rather than have them risk driving after they’ve been drinking or riding with a driver who has been drinking.
“Being safe is the most important rule,” Gardner said. “When you get in just one accident or get a speeding ticket, it really messes with your insurance rates.”