National Teen Driver Safety Week: Tips to keep your teen driver safe

National Teen Driver Safety Week: Tips to keep your teen driver safe

National Teen Driver Safety Week happens every year in October. It’s an ideal opportunity for parents, educators and teen drivers to join forces to raise awareness of teen driving risks and to seek solutions. Now in its 12th year, National Teen Driver Safety Week runs from October 21 – 27, 2018.

The problem: Teen drivers are still dying on our roads

National Teen Driver Safety Week roadside memorial

National Teen Driver Safety Week was established in 2006 to help teen drivers establish safe driving habits. Do you think it’s not a serious issue? Check out these scary, but true, teen driving statistics.

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15 to 18 years old) in the United States – ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.
  • The first year of solo driving is the most dangerous. Novice teen drivers are twice as likely as adult drivers to be in a fatal crash.
  • One of the worst causes of teen accidents is having extra passengers in the car. In fact, nine in ten teens report that passenger behavior is a distraction. Your teen is 8 times more likely to crash when passengers are present.
  • One of every three teen crashes involves speeding.
  • Teens are 3 times more likely to crash at night than during the daytime.

National Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on driving dangers

No Distracted Driving Sign

Teen drivers face dangers on the road each and every day. National Teen Driver Safety Week not only focuses on these dangers, but also on solutions to reduce them.

These are the biggest dangers teen drivers face on the road:

  • Immaturity and inexperience
  • Inconsistent or no seat belt use
  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Speeding
  • Extra passengers
  • Distracted driving
  • Drowsy driving

National Teen Driver Safety Week tips for teen drivers and parents

Teen driver and parent drive smart georgia

According to the NHTSA, teens whose parents impose driving restrictions and set good examples typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer crashes.

Teaching a teen lifelong good driving habits should be a team effort. Don’t just hand your teen driver the keys. Take lots of time to practice and open a discussion about teen driver dangers. National Teen Driver Safety Week is the perfect time to establish rules and consequences.

National Teen Driver Safety Week tips for teen drivers

If you’re a teen driver, here are a few tips to stay safe on the road during National Teen Driver Safety Week…and beyond!

Buckle Up!
It’s the law in all 50 states. Before even putting the key in the ignition, make sure your seat belt is fastened. Plus, make sure all your passengers are buckled up too. Seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.

Make Adjustments
Adjust your mirrors to minimize blind spots, clean your windshield, and turn off the phone. Plus, don’t forget to adjust your headrest to a height behind your head – not your neck – to minimize whiplash in case you’re in an accident.

Be a courteous driver
Be a courteous driver by signaling properly, avoid tailgating other cars, and obeying all road rules.

Peer Passengers
People tend to think that your biggest driving distraction is a cell phone. It isn’t (but it’s certainly dangerous). The biggest distraction is peer passengers. Joshua’s Law allows no peer passengers for the six months. During the second six months, you can have just one peer passenger in the car with you. After one year, a teen driver in Georgia can have no more than three other passengers.

Put the phone in the glove box
Texting is one of today’s most alarming distractions because it requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver. Teen drivers (and adults too!) simply cannot multi-task while behind the wheel. It’s downright dangerous, so just don’t do it.

Learn from your mistakes
As with anything else in life, practice makes perfect. When you make a mistake, adjust your behavior and “learn your lesson.” Learning to drive doesn’t happen in just a few months. It’s a skill that must be honed and perfected over time.

National Teen Driver Safety Week tips for parents

If you’re the parent of a new driver, here are a few tips to help your teen stay safe on the road during National Teen Driver Safety Week…and beyond!

Start the Conversation Early
Talk to your teens about safe driving early and often, before they reach driving age. But don’t stop there. Have conversations with the parents of your teen’s peers or friends and compare notes – both are key to your teens’ safety.

Set the Standard
Talking is important, but action speaks volumes. Show your kids safe driving behavior. Start by modeling good habits any time you drive them anywhere, even before they begin to drive. Make sure that you turn off your cell phone and stow it away. Plus, buckle your seat belt before starting your car.

Get It in Writing
When your teenagers begin driving, we recommend you set ground rules and outline the consequences for breaking them in a parent-teen contract like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Parent-Teen Driving Contract. Consider displaying your contract by the family car keys or near the front door.

Spell Out the Rules
No cell phones, no passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, no driving when tired, and always buckle up. These rules could help save your teen’s life.

Enroll in a AAA-approved Driver’s Education program
Driver education programs, like those offered at Drive Smart Georgia help teach teen drivers the rules of the road. After taking the 40-hour course required by Joshua’s Law , the students then hit the road to apply what they learned in class. This one-two punch has been successful in teaching teens lifelong good driving habits.

National Teen Driver Safety Week: Set a good example

good example drive smart georgia

National Teen Driver Safety Week is the perfect time to start talking about teen driver safety. Don’t let your child become a statistic.

Parents should pledge to be the driver they want their teen to become. Your children learn by watching YOU. Parents influence their teen’s driving habits more than anyone else.

The lessons – both good and bad – begin early and don’t stop. Set a good example by not speeding, wearing a seat belt, avoiding distractions, and being a courteous, responsible driver. Your teen will follow in your footsteps.

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