Published On: Tue, Oct 25th, 2016

What you need to know before letting your teen start driving?

Teenagers in the United States dream of getting a driver’s license and being able to drive on their own. Eventually, they want to have their own vehicle and drive it too. Getting that license gives them a new sense of confidence, responsibilities, and they feel that they are closer to adulthood.

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However, if you are a parent thinking about letting your teenager drive your vehicle, there are some facts you have to know before you make that decision, as it can be a matter of life and death. This is because the leading cause of death for persons aged 15 to 20 is car accidents.

Here are other noteworthy statistics to consider:

  • 33 percent of deaths among all teenagers in 2010 were due to motor vehicle accidents.
  • The highest crash rates belong to drivers aged 16 as opposed to drivers of any other age.
  • 56 percent of teens claim they use their mobile phone while driving.
  • According to statistics, 16 and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each added passenger.
  • Teen drivers with parents riding with them are twice as likely to wear seatbelts.
  • Over 40 percent of motor vehicle deaths involving teens happen between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

As you can see, letting your teen drive unaided in certain situations can be very dangerous. The best way to give them that freedom and responsibility of driving is to make sure they are fully equipped, fully ready, and think of driving as a highly important act that comes with a huge amount of responsibility, not only to themselves, but to other motorists as well. Mark Sinclair, a Phoenix auto accident attorney, said that parents are often the best prevention to auto accidents involving teens.

Here are some ways that parents can try in order to help their teens be fully prepared:

  • Accompany your teen when he/she is learning how to drive – This will help ease the teen’s nervousness when you as a parent is with him or her while she is beginning to study the basics of driving.
  • Start with short trips – Don’t let your teen venture out into the highway immediately. Let him/her get comfortable with the vehicle first by going on short trips of no more than five miles. This will help build confidence and familiarity.
  • Give constructive criticism – You as a parent and more experienced driver should give tips that the teenager can follow and take to heart. For example, preparing to brake when approaching a stop sign by slowing down ahead of time instead of braking closer to the sign. Be gentle but firm when doing so.
  • What to do in an accident – Let your teen know the steps to take when involved in an accident. Let them know that calmness and a steady mind will be more effective than being angry.
  • Provide a safe vehicle – Make sure the car your teen is driving is safe – good tires, working airbags, brakes working, are just some of the things to note. It doesn’t matter if the car or old or new; what’s important is it’s working and safe.
  • Get a DMV driver’s guide – Get it from the DMV office and study it closely with your teen.
  • Set a good example – When you are driving with your teen, make sure to be a good example. Do not run red lights and stop signs, slow down on yellow, etc.

You can help prevent unwanted road accidents by following these tips and taking time to be intentional in teaching your teen how to drive. In doing so, you might be saving their life and other teens as well.