Please note: This article is dedicated to all those moms and dads who have lived through this, or will in the future!
It is a very exciting time for a teenager when they approach the legal age to drive a car. In many states, this can be as young as 15 and a half. Parents, shuddering at the thought of their teen driving, should take into consideration if their teen is actually ready for this next step.
While each person develops at their own pace, reaching the legal driving age does not necessarily mean being mentally and emotionally ready for this task. A quick review with your teen over some key points will help you determine if they are ready to drive.
• Review Basic Traffic Laws
While they will cover this in driver’s education, it is important for you, as a parent to determine if they actually grasp what the laws mean. Talk to them about things like turn signal use, tailgating, and what to do at a four-way stop. These simple questions can go a long way in keeping your teen safe.
• Review Accident Safety
Accident safety is extremely important. Teach your teen to be thorough. In the event of a crisis situation they should be able to note the details, check for injured parties then contact and wait on the police. A prominent West Palm Beach car accident lawyer states this warning, “If you can’t move your vehicle, do not get out of your car and stand in the middle of the highway, wait until help arrives,” which is extremely important for your teen to know. This action will lessen the risk of a compound accident occurring. There are roadside emergency kits that can be placed by the car to help it be more visible, if one is able to pull the car to the side.
• Review Passenger Safety
Make sure your teen knows all about passenger safety. Let them know that if they are going to have passengers in the vehicle that every passenger must abide by safety rules. This includes but is not limited to, using seat belts and refraining from overcrowding the car.
• Talk About Anger
Some of the worst accidents occur because the person behind the wheel is angry or upset. Their emotions overtake them, and their driving becomes erratic and dangerous. Stress how important it is to avoid driving while emotional.
• Talk About Drinking
While no one wants to think of their teens taking part in underage drinking, the risk remains. Confront your teen about this issue and let them know where you stand and what you expect. Being open with your teen is the best prevention.
• Discuss Cell Phone Use
Depending on the state in which you live, using a cell phone without a hands-free set may be illegal. Regardless if it is illegal or not, stress how important it is to only use the cell phone when parked. It takes four seconds to answer a phone, seven if you must look for it first. It only takes 2.5 seconds to cause an accident on the road. Stress even more that texting is absolutely forbidden in the car.
Parents should also remember that their teens will mimic their driving habits. If you do not wear your seat belt, if you use the phone while driving, or if you are an aggressive driver, they will most likely drive that way on the road as well.
Parents should also consider having extended periods of supervised driving. Have your teen run local errands with you and allow them to drive. The more experience they get behind the wheel before driving on their own, the better. Encourage them for all the right driving decisions they make. Support and encouragement will make them more confident and apt to continue making the right decisions on the road.
Nickey Williams contributes this article for those parents of teenagers who are in need of pre-driving tips. The West Palm Beach car accident lawyer firm of Steinger, Iscoe & Greene values the livelihood and welfare of their clients and shows this by lending guidance and whatever professional resources afforded to them. This legal team’s first goal is to get South Florida injury victims the compensation deserved when involved in an accident.