Traffic Safety Alert- Teen Driving Safety Week

October 20-26 is Teen Driving Safety Week

Parents often worry about their kids’ safety, but they have good reason to be concerned when their teen gets behind the wheel. Young, inexperienced drivers are the most crash-prone drivers on the road. In fact, traffic crashes are the number one cause of death for American teenagers.

Know the risks
Risks that contribute to traffic crashes involving teens are:

  • Impaired driving
  • Too many passengers
  • Driving at night
  • Speeding
  • Loud music
  • Eating
  • Cell phones
  • Bad weather

“So if your kids are driving or close to learning to drive, now’s a great time to reinforce good habits !

Tips For Parents

1. ALWAYS set a good example.

a. Wear your seatbelt every time and insist passengers buckle up too.

b. Stow your cell phone when you’re behind the wheel.

c. Don’t drink and drive.

d. Keep two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel while driving.

e. eliminate all distractions.

2. Teach the basics.

a. Scan for hazards.

b. Obey speed limits

c. Use your turn signals.

d. Come to a complete stop at stop signs and signals.

e. Keep a safe following and stopping distance.

3. Practice, practice, practice.

a. Conduct as much supervised practice behind the wheel as possible.

b. Vary routes, time of day and driving conditions to ensure your new driver gains confidence in a wide range of situations.

c. Provide hands-on supervised training in heavy traffic and adverse weather conditions.

4. Establish and enforce ground rules.

a. Explain the consequences of unsafe behaviors and other hazards common for new drivers.

b. Establish house rules for young driver’s safety. Consider a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.

c. Discuss consequences for rule violations and enforce them.

5. Stay involved after your teen is driving alone.

a. Remember parents influence a teen’s driving behavior more than anyone else.

b. Focus on SAFETY rather than control.

c. Monitor where your teen is going, who else will be in the car and when he/she is expected home.

TIPS FOR TEENS

1. Settle into the driver’s seat.

a. Wear your seatbelt every time and insist passengers buckle up too.

b. Stow your cell phone when you’re behind the wheel.

c. Don’t drink and drive.

d. Eliminate all distractions.

2. Remember the basics.

a. Scan for hazards,

b. Keep two eyes on the road and two hands on the wheel while driving.

c. Obey speed limits.

d. Use your turn signals.

e. Come to a complete stop at stop signs and signals.

f. Keep a safe following and stopping distance.

3. Respect the dangers.

a. Know that motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teens.

b .Remember teen drivers ( age 16 to 19) are involved in fatal crashes at four times the rate of adult drivers ( ages 24 to 69).

c. Keep in mind 58% of teen drivers killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt in 2012. 50% of passengers killed in crashes were not buckled up.

d. Recognize critical driver errors due to inexperience contribute significantly to crashes.

4. Embrace the freedom and responsibility.

a. Respect and protect your fellow drivers.

b. Take responsibility for your passenger/passengers and stop distracting behaviors.

c. Ask a parent to ride along during challenging driving conditions, like heavy traffic and adverse weather conditions.

d. Follow the rules so you can continue to enjoy the freedom driving brings !

  • Know what you don’t know. A recent NHTSA study found that 75 percent of serious teen crashes were due to a critical teen driver error, with three common errors accounting for nearly half of all serious crashes:
    • driving too fast for road conditions
    • being distracted
    • failing to detect a hazard
  • Make sure your parent teaches you critical driving skills. Try to accept constructive criticism and ask your parent to teach you the following skills to prevent the three common errors that lead to teen crashes:
    • speed management – This includes always following the speed limit, as well as knowing when to adjust your speed in congested zones and residential areas, during inclement weather, and on poorly lit roads.
    • recognizing and avoiding distractions – This means limiting the number of peer passengers, having a no cell phone or electronic device rule, and lowering radio volume.
    • scanning for hazards – This involves observing the surroundings far ahead of the vehicle and side-to-side so that you have sufficient warning to react and avoid a potential crash.
  • Develop house rules for your first year of independent driving.

Act proactively and speak to your teen before a tragedy occurs. Aside from potential financial damage, there are far worse consequences to your teen being involved in a crash. Don’t let your child become one of the thousands of people who die in teen driver-related crashes every year.

And remember – your teen is at risk just like anyone else. Assuming that your child is invincible can be deadly!

Information from Teendriversource.com , MADD, NHTSA, NSC, AAA and teensafedriving.org

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