It's time to talk to your teen about driving safety

The week of October 21, 2017, celebrates National Teen Driver Safety initiatives across the country.

If you're a parent of a teenager that's old enough to drive, what are the most important things to address with your teenage driver?

1. Safety Contracts

A safety contract might sound a little hokey, but it can be an effective tool for parents and teens to use to communicate expectations about what parents expect when a teen is behind the wheel -- and what consequences will be faced if the teen fails to live up to that contract.

Contracts can include no texting or no cellphones on at all while driving, always using the seat belt, never messing with the radio while in motion, setting the controls on the GPS before starting and only taking the car with express permission. It can even include minor details like making sure that the tires have air and there's plenty of gas before the teen sets out on the road.

2. Parents are also encouraged to address the major dangers that teens face on the road:

  • Drowsy driving, which can overtake a teenager quickly if he or she has been burning the candle at both ends while trying to meet the demands of classes and extracurricular activities.
  • Drunk driving, which could involve underage drinking by your teen or by the driver your teen is with. Encourage your teen to call rather than drive drunk -- and offer a free pass on punishment to avoid something far worse, like a fatal accident.
  • Driving with passengers can be dangerous for teens because they get more distracted. It isn't unusual for a teenager to want to take a date on the road or a bestie shopping -- but put strict limits as to who can be on the road with them and when.

Anyone who is involved in a car accident due to the other driver's distracted driving or other negligent behavior is encouraged to seek legal help as soon as possible in order to understand his or her rights to fair compensation.

Source: Perry County Tribune, "National Teen Driver Safety Week through Oct. 21," Oct. 18, 2017

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