It's time that of year again! School has started and you can already smell the tailgates firing up for football season. If you’re a parent with a new driver in your household, the next few months might involve driving to and from school and after school practices and activities.
With the dangers of texting and driving to add to a parent’s list of concerns, one of ‘the talks’ you have with your teen should now include this topic. Death and serious injury resulting from texting and driving have climbed for experienced drivers and skyrocketed for teens.
Here are a few points gathered from parents here at Bukaty that you may want to share with your teen-driver.
- Driving is not a competitive sport
Aggressive driving accounts for more than half of all fatal accidents. Common aggressive behaviors include speeding, tailgating, jumping between lanes, racing to beat yellow lights and turning in front of oncoming traffic. Remember the saying, “Better late than never."
- The best offense is a good defense
Young drivers fresh out of Drivers Ed know the rules of the road. What they don’t know is that many veteran drivers no longer follow those rules. Teach your new driver that they can never assume what another driver may or may not do. Help them build defensive driving techniques into their driving habits.
- Operating a vehicle is not a team sport
For the first several months of their independent driving, you may consider implementing a ‘no passengers’ rule. Learning how to drive a vehicle safely takes time, and putting additional distractions into the car such as music, friends and conversation hinders focus and attentiveness.
- Pass on the Hail Mary
Passing another vehicle is one of the top driving dangers. Safely and successfully passing another car (especially on a 2-lane highway) requires experience in gauging oncoming traffic, familiarity with your vehicle’s acceleration and braking response, and the focus to develop a strategy and confidence to execute.
- Suit up for Safety
This is one pep talk you don’t want to miss. A seatbelt can be the difference between walking away from an accident and riding away from it in an ambulance. Statistics show 55% of teenagers killed in auto accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. The two seconds it takes to buckle up improves the odds of survival by 50%.
- Don’t let a text message be your final play
You’ve seen the commercials and campaigns aiming to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the road and bring awareness to the unnecessary loss of life this growing problem has caused. While dangerous across the board, teens are still statistically more likely to be involved in a car crash while distracted by a cell phone than an adult driver. Help reduce the numbers and let your teen know, “It can wait.”
From our family to yours, drive safe and arrive alive. If you have any questions regarding adding your teen to your auto policy or coverages to protect them in this new venture, we’re here to help.