Texting is just one cause of accidents
According to Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), over the past five years an average of eight teens were killed in driving accidents each day between Memorial Day and Labor Day. With those horrific rates, it's no wonder the summer months are deemed the 100 deadliest days of the year. To help ensure your loved ones make it safely through summer, heed the following tips from Bill Wade, national program manager of safe teen driving program Tire Rack Street Survival.
Remember, your teen's license is not about your convenience-it's about their life. Set limits on your teen's driving, especially in high-risk situations such as at night, on the weekends or in inclement weather. Do not let your teen ride with a young driver that has less than one year's driving experience. Also, monitor how many people your teen drives with; the higher the number of teens in the car, the greater the level of distraction.
Understand the Route
Have a clear understanding of where your teen is driving, who they are with and the route they intend to take. Confirm a check-in time with your teen so they can update you on their plans.
Maintain Visual Awareness
Remind your teen to look 10 seconds down the road at all times when driving, and that they should be driving no fewer than three seconds behind the next vehicle. This will teach your teen to focus on the best escape route when confronted with an obstacle.
Make Time to Talk
Set aside time each week this summer to reconnect with your teen and get a full understanding of their schedule. This is also a good time to empower your teen to get out of a bad situation, should one arise, by setting up a secret code, which will help your teen save face and be responsible. For example, something like "Mom I have a headache" could be a signal for you to drop everything and pick them up from where they are should they find themselves in an unsafe situation. Providing your teen with a card to keep in their wallet with the numbers of local taxi services will also help minimize sleep-deprived driving.
Set a Good Example
Your teens rely on you to lead by example. Practice what you preach and don't use your cell phone or send text messages while you are driving. Both are leading causes of distractions and crashes for teen drivers. Remind your teen to keep their hands off of the center of the steering wheel and their feet off of the dashboard. In the event of an accident an airbag deployment with the hands or feet in this position can cause serious bodily harm. Ensure that every passenger in the car is wearing their seat belt.
Check the Tires
Complete a quick tire-pressure check with your teen every month to ensure levels are correct. Low pressure can be a safety hazard as well as increase gas consumption. You can find correct tire inflation specs and other tire-related information at www.tirerack.com. Also check the tread, as bald tires are also dangerous to drive on.
Consider a Safety Program
Enroll your teen in an advanced real-world driver's education program to give them experience in car control rather than simple maneuvering and allow them to react from experience rather than guess what might be right in an emergency situation. Tire Rack Street Survival offers programs throughout the country.
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