As a new academic year begins, you may worry about your teenager’s safety as he or she drives to school for the first time. Your concerns are not unfounded. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 20 years old.
Here are three important safety topics to discuss with your teen driver at the start of the school year.
1. The danger of distracted driving
Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents for people of all ages. However, the inexperience of young drivers increases the probability of a collision when they face distractions. You should talk with your teen and set expectations to promote focused driving. For example, you may want to place a limit on the number of passengers who can ride with your child at any time.
2. The threat of inclement weather
Even cautious motorists sometimes misjudge how to safely drive in poor conditions. You may want to recommend that your teen avoid operating a vehicle in inclement weather altogether. However, if unavoidable, these precautions could prevent an accident:
- Reduce speed
- Avoid standing water
- Use the correct headlights for the type of weather
- Leave adequate room between cars
3. The risk of driving under the influence
Talk with your young driver about the potential risks of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, such as physical harm, fines, jail time and license suspension.
Even when your child follows safe driving practices, accidents still happen. Make sure your teen knows what to do next, including calling the insurance company, filing a police report and seeking medical attention.