How to Keep Your Teenage Driver Safe
As soon as your teenager approaches learner permit age, you start to worry about how to keep your teen driver safe. After all, it was not too long ago that your budding Mario Andretti was crashing his or her bicycle. That was traumatic enough.
But things have now escalated. Accelerated? Now if your precious child crashes it could result in their death or the death of others. The peer pressure to drink and drive and the pressure to speed for the sake of speeding is hard to resist. Will your child be able to resist? There are ways you can help them to.
Car Accidents are the Leading Cause of Teen Deaths
Car accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths. Teens are twice as likely to get into an accident than adults and four times as likely to do so in their first 18 months of driving. Scary? Yes, it sure is. It is scary to all parents and we all go through it. Unfortunately, no one has figured out a way to just bubble wrap them or to talk them out of driving until they are 21. Well, no one has figured out a way to talk a teenager out of pretty much anything.
And there are temptations. Drinking, texting, reaching for cell phones, changing the media source and distracting conversations with passengers all pose threats to new drivers. They know that all those things must be secondary to paying attention to their driving, but they are teenagers. They think they are immortal.
What Can We Do?
Here’s the painful part. We have to set a good example. We can’t speed when we drive with them. We certainly can’t drink or text while driving. And this is not one of those cases where we can say I’m the adult and I can do these things, but you can’t. As if saying that ever worked anyway. No, every time we break these rules, we give them license to do the same and this time the cost could be high.
But we’re human and so are they and they are the worst kind. Teenage humans. So, we will falter, and they will struggle not to falter every day, but we have to support them in every way can. Give them every advantage you can. Here are some things you can do.
- Make sure they take a good driver’s education class.
- Limit how long they can drive, how far they can go and how many miles in total they can drive in a week. Give them a time/mileage budget they must stick too. Make them sign a contract agreeing to the budget.
- Pick the right car. A sports car is an encouragement to speed. A luxury car is a status symbol. A car for a teenager should be utilitarian, not a status symbol or something to show off.
- There are gadgets that can help, too. Apps that will prevent their cell phone from calling or texting while the car is in motion. There are apps and gadgets that can monitor and report their speed and even allow you to mark off geographic locations where they are not to go or go beyond after certain hours or at all.
- Certain car insurance companies will provide such monitors and reward you with lower rates if the teens drive properly. If there is a monitor in the car it also is an effective guard against peer pressure. If your teen driver is ever being goaded into speeding or doing anything else that is reckless, they can resist easier when they can truthfully state that if they speed their parents will know and take the car
We Can’t Protect Them From Everything
Of course, you can’t give your teen drivers 100% protection. They are going to make mistakes and take some risks. But you can improve their chances by setting a good example, getting them properly trained and putting them in a safe, utilitarian car. You can reinforce the rules of safe driving and the rules we set for them to be able to drive a car by installing a monitor that reports on their driving habits and lets us know if they are not following the rules and honoring their driving contract.
But even if they follow all the rules and drive carefully, accidents can happen whether it’s their fault or another driver’s fault. And that’s why we protect them the best we can in advance. To give them the best chance of having their own teenagers someday that will worry them sick. You know, so they know how it feels. It’s parental payback. There’s no shame in wanting that.
You Can Count On Us
I have 35 years’ experience as a car accident lawyer and 25 years’ experience as a parent. (though it seems like it was much, much longer – like dog years). I survived my children’s teenage years and so will you. If the odds do catch up with your teenager driver and you did your job by getting them the right car and the right car insurance, then you and they should be financially safe if the accident was caused by your teen.
I can’t make your teenager’s first few driving month’s any less scary, but if the accident was someone else’s fault, that’s where I can help. I wish I had some influence on their recovery if they get injured, but that’s beyond my power to do. But I can help make sure that you are adequately compensated for the loss or damage to your vehicle and I will make sure your teenage driver is compensated for any injuries and any other losses. Don’t hesitate to contact me if and when you need help or even if you want to discuss the steps you can take to protect your teen before they get their license.