Coaching Cues to Inspire Teenage Driving Safety
Do you remember the sense of freedom and responsibility you felt the day you got your driver’s license? What about the poorly concealed terror on your parents’ faces the first time you took the car out for a spin? At the time, you probably brushed off their apprehension as a side effect of overprotective anxieties. However, now that you have children of your own, the situation has changed. Their overprotective anxieties at once seem like plain old common sense.
How can you let your baby get behind the wheel of a death machine? He’s just not mature enough. He can’t even pay attention while I talk to him, so how is he supposed to pay attention to the road? Maybe he’ll be mature enough in five or 10 more years.
Although you may wish that your child refrains from getting his license until he’s in college, the likelihood of him agreeing with you is pretty slim. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t help him avoid common teenager mistakes, and help him become the safe teenage driver you need him to be.
Activities to Promote Teenage Driving Safety
Teenage drivers tend to make a lot of dangerous mistakes as a result of inexperience. They drive faster than normal, brake harder than they should, and allow themselves to become distracted on a whim. After factoring poor attention spans with built-in car adapters, GPS devices, and cell phones that appear to be welded to their hands, it’s no wonder teenage drivers are three times as likely to cause traffic accidents than more mature drivers. As a parent, it is your responsibility to help decrease this alarming statistic by helping your child understand the necessary safety skills he needs to avoid and prevent collisions.
The best way to begin this task is to simply talk to your child about proper driving safety. Once you’ve explained the importance of safety, you can then use the following tips to help him develop his skills to become a safer driver—which will not only be good for your teen but also for everyone else on the road.
- Practice. It’s called a learning permit for a reason. This is a chance for your teenager to gain real-world driving experience. Encourage him to practice by letting him drive you everywhere. While this will no doubt be stressful for you, it is better for your teen to have more driving experience than less.
- Critique his performance…constructively. Let your teen know what he is doing wrong as well as doing right. There are plenty of things to get wrong when you first get behind the wheel, such as accelerating downhill, braking too hard, accelerating too quickly after the light turns red. Point out these mistakes so that he knows they’re not appropriate. Just remember, though, that he’s probably as nervous as you are. You can feel free to scream or shout or tear your hair out as soon as you get home, but when while you’re in the car with your driver it’s very important that you keep your cool. Having you raise your voice or pound on the dashboard won’t do much to calm your child’s nerves, so make sure you use your critique as a constructive teaching tool, not as a criticism.
- Protect. Although you can’t control his choices, you can help protect him from himself by controlling certain situations. Are your teen’s friends the sort who drink or use drugs? Do they act recklessly? Teenagers tend to mimic their friends when they’re around them, so if you think your teenager will drink or behave recklessly while he is driving with his friends, don’t let him have the keys. Make it clear that you don’t want him to drive after drinking or get in a car with another driver who is intoxicated. While you shouldn’t let your teenager drink, telling him that you will pick him up with no questions asked if he has been drinking is a smart way to keep him from getting behind the wheel.
- Share the costs. One practical way to have your teenager understand the many benefits of safe driving is to have her pay for her own car insurance or to share the costs with you. Once she sees firsthand how insurance costs go up due to speeding tickets and fender-benders—and also that rates drop for a record of safe driving—she’ll be more inclined to use caution behind the wheel.
For more information on teenage driving risks and accident options, contact us directly at 713-921-4171. Attorney Steve Lee has dedicated his practice to helping victims of collisions get back on their feet for over 35 years. If you or a loved one has questions or concerns regarding a teenage accident (or any traffic accident) we’re here to help put your mind at ease. Call now!