Did you know half of all teenagers will be involved in a car accident before they graduate from high school?
Sometimes, these car accidents are due to a distraction – like a text message or a favorite song. Other times, they happen because the driver didn’t know a safety rule, like when to pass or change lanes.
As you’re preparing your teen driver to take on the roads, share these tips for teen drivers to keep your loved one safe.
Tips for teen drivers to avoid distracted driving
Every day in the U.S., about eight people are killed because of a crash involving a distracted driver. Of all age groups, teens are most likely to be distracted at the time of a crash. To make sure your teen stays focused and alert, enforce these tips for teen drivers:
- Turn off cell phones or put them in the back seat. The National Safety Council reports the probability that a car accident involves a cell phone is one in four. And drivers are four times more likely to get into an accident if they’re using their phone. Have your teen turn off their phone on the roads, store it in the glove box or put it in the back seat.
- Don’t text and drive. At 55 miles per hour, the average text message takes your teen driver’s eyes off the road while they travel the length of an entire football field.
- Start the GPS before starting the car. If your teen is traveling somewhere new and assistance is needed from a smartphone app, have it started before departing.
- Don’t drive with a passenger. The more passengers your teen takes, the more likely your teen will be distracted.
- Don’t eat or drink while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, those who eat and drive increase their odds of getting into a car accident by 80 percent.
- Keep the radio at a reasonable volume. It should always be at a level that allows drivers to hear oncoming emergency vehicles.
Follow the rules of the road
Teenage drivers account for more car accidents than any other age group, and car accidents happen to be the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds. By following these basic rules and tips for teen drivers, they’ll be able to keep safe:
- Leave enough space between vehicles. Whether your teen is in motion or at a stop, your teen should always be able to see the ground behind the vehicle ahead of them.
- Don’t switch lanes at an intersection. Changing lanes in the middle of an intersection may or may not be considered illegal in your state, but it’s always considered dangerous.
- Know when it’s okay to pass and when it’s not. New drivers shouldn’t be doing much passing, but they should know the symbols on the road that mark when it is okay to pass another vehicle.
- Don’t use cruise control in wet or slippery conditions. If there’s rain, snow or ice, it is risky to use the cruise control. Wet roads can be slippery, and going at a constant speed in that condition could lead to hydroplaning.
How teens can stay safe while driving
Small precautions can make all the difference. Teach your teen these keys to safe driving:
- Make sure the vehicle always has at least a half tank of gas. You always want your teen to travel without any trouble. That’s why it’s a good rule of thumb to make sure the vehicle has the gas to get there.
- Stock up on emergency supplies. There are a few things your teen should always keep in the car … like these emergency items.
- Always know the road they’re on. In case your teen needs to call the police, they’ll need to know their location.
- Adjust the headrest to the right height. Most drivers believe the headrest should be behind the neck, but it should actually be at a height behind the head to minimize whiplash.
- Don’t get out of the vehicle if it’s in the road. If your teen is in a car accident, make sure they know to remain in the vehicle, where it is most safe.
- Keep the doors locked and the windows rolled up. This will keep intruders out and your teen safe.
- Leave a phone charger in the car at all times. If something happens to your teen from point A to point B, having a phone charger in the car will ensure enough battery life to call for help.
- Don’t leave valuables in plain sight. When your young driver is parked, encourage them to not leave things like wallets, purses, smartphones, laptops, and sports equipment where they can be easily spotted.
- Park under a street light. Parking in a lit area is always the safest option. And on the way to the vehicle, your teen should walk with keys in hand.
Not sure what kind of vehicle to buy your teen driver? Looking for more tips for teen drivers? Our experts are always here. Talk to a local, independent agent about these and other questions today.