Buckle up, put down the phone, keep your eyes on the road, those are some of the top ways for drivers to stay safe behind the wheel, but there is so much more, especially for teen drivers.
Parents should help teens learning the driving rules, practice, practice, practice, and even set additional driving rules not mandated by the law.
Using the Graduated License Calculator, parents can see how changing a rule like a curfew and the number of passengers permitted in a car reduces the incidents of fatal crashes. For example, a 16-year-old who has two or more passengers has a 27% increase in a being in a fatal crash compared to a teen with no passengers. However, there is a 7% reduction in fatal crashes for teens who have a 9:00 p.m. driving curfew versus a midnight curfew.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds parents to set the rules before teens hit the road with “5 to Drive”:
- No cell phones while driving
- No extra passengers
- No speeding
- No alcohol
- No driving or riding without a seat belt
- Practice with new drivers: Practice should continue even after teens get their license.
- Set a good example: Teens learn from watching their parents drive.
- Sign the new driver deal: Define your expectations for your teen drivers
- Let teens earn privileges
- Talk to other parents about teen driver safety: Know rules that the parents of your child’s friends have in place to make sure they align with your own.
- Avoid in-car distractions: This goes beyond no texting. Teens should avoid juggling driving with activities like eating breakfast, applying makeup, and fumbling with the radio.
- Buckle up! Seat belt use is lowest among teen drivers and most teenagers involved in fatal crashes are unbuckled
- Get enough sleep: Drowsy driving costs lives!
- Share the road: Teach teens to watch out for pedestrians and cyclists
- Driving rules make a difference: Set consequences when teens break the rules
- Avoid standing water
- Slow down
- Plan for more time on the road
- Do not use cruise control
- Avoid heavy braking
- Know what to do if you hydroplane: Let off gas, steer in the direction that the front of your car needs to go.
- Use your headlights