My wife and I only have one teenager left in our home. Our other children have theoretically grown up. But, very few things are more frightening then being the parent of a teenager with a car. And, the data backs up these concerns. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for American teenagers. The crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is 4 times the risk as compared to older drivers. Not surprisingly, risk is highest at age 16. The crash rate per mile driven is twice as high for 16 year-olds as it is for 18-19 year-olds.
Browsing the web today, I found these ten safety tips that as the father of former and current teenagers make a lot of sense to me.
1. Pay for extra driver training if you can afford it.
2. Have your child drive you everywhere possible once they receive a learner’s permit.
3. Talk to your child as you drive, communicate with your child as you travel together.
4. Don’t Rant, Yell, Scream or Shout — Until You Get Home.
5. Review your driving session once you return home as gently and calmly as possible.
6. Meet your child’s traveling companions.
7. Remind your child frequently of the inherent dangers of operating a motor vehicle with anything less than 100 percent concentration.
8. Choose a Safe Car.
9. Ride periodically with your teen even after they obtain their license.
10. Have your child share insurance and other costs.
Not everyone can afford extra driving instruction. But, parents can ill afford to not take the time to make sure their teenager is safe behind the wheel. My instincts tell me that this begins by being safe drivers ourselves. Make sure your children see you being a cautious driver. If your child sees you talking on your cell phone while you drive, they will be much less likely to listen when you instruct them not to do the same.