In just three days, families across America will say goodbye to 2016 and ring in 2017. While New Year’s is a time of renewal and celebration, it’s also a dangerous time for teen drivers. The Consumer Insurance Guide website reports that more than 1 in 10 teens drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol on New Year’s Eve.
The safest thing a parent can do is to restrict all driving on New Year’s Eve. Yes, you don’t want to be THAT parent, but too many other drivers make unwise, unsound and unsafe decisions. On this particularly dangerous holiday, it’s okay to put your foot down. It’s better to have a surly teen safe under your roof than to wonder and worry about his or her whereabouts when the clock strikes midnight.
This time of year is also the perfect opportunity for teen drivers and their parents to make New Year’s resolutions to be smart and safe on the road. Teens can resolve to follow rules, while parents can resolve to be good examples. It’s a win-win for inexperienced teens and their always-nervous parents. “New drivers take the lead from their parents,” says Kirk Bressette, CEO of Drive Smart Georgia. "If parents set good examples, then teens will follow their lead."
New Year’s Resolutions for Teen Drivers:
- Practice safe driving. Don’t forget to buckle up. Observe the speed limit, be well rested and alert, and don’t follow cars too closely.
- Avoid all distractions. Turn the cell phone off while driving. When you arrive at your destination, turn it on to call or text mom or dad.
- Do not drink and drive. If you do, call mom and dad for a ride home. Plan for a lecture, but in the end, your parents will be extremely happy that you asked for help.
- Know the passenger limits. During the first six months, NO passengers are allowed. Only one is allowed during the second six months.
- Don't wait until your gas gauge is sitting on E to refuel. On an unfamiliar road, you never know when the next gas station will appear. As soon as you hit a quarter of a tank, start looking for a place to fill up.
New Year’s Resolutions for Parents of Teen Drivers:
- Don’t text and drive – ever. Even while stopped at traffic lights. Also, don’t call or text your teen while he or she is driving. Fifty-three percent of teens that reported talking on a phone while driving were chatting with mom or dad.
- Come to a complete stop at stop signs. Too many parents make “Hollywood” or rolling stops.
- Stop at yellow lights when possible. Many experienced drivers think yellow means speed up to make the light. This is a bad example to set.
- Be a courteous and considerate driver. Aggressive drivers are involved in more accidents than courteous ones. Show your new driver how to be considerate on the road.
- Set rules for teen drivers and enforce them. Teens with easy access to a vehicle are more likely to crash than those who have to “ask for permission” and have a more structured approach. Set rules for teen drivers and stick to them, including consequences for poor decisions.
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