Teen drivers, especially during the summer months when they are off school, are uniquely vulnerable to car accidents. Whether it is because of their inexperience, their incompletely developed frontal lobe, their dependence on technology and seeming unbreakable connection to their smartphones, teen drivers often fail to identify risks, manage distractions, or react quickly enough to avoid danger. So as a parent of a teen, what can you do to help them safely learn to drive and manage themselves on the road?
Tip One: Use Technological Tools
Parents need to embrace the technological tools that are available via cellphone apps or other means such as:
- AT&T DriveMode: This app (available on Android and iOS) silences texts and sends an automatic response letting the messenger know your teen is driving.
- LifeSaver: This app (available on Android and iOS) automatically locks the phone when your teen starts driving.
- Automatic Smart Driving Assistant: This paid app coordinates with a link accessory to not only silence incoming notifications but will alert emergency services in the event of an accident and provides teen drivers with helpful tips.
Even though it is arguably the most dangerous, cell phone use is not the only potential distraction for teen drivers. Before your teen goes out on the road, be sure to teach her a few ways to avoid distractions behind the wheel.
Tip Two: Set Boundaries And Then Keep Them
As parents, we know teenagers are constantly testing boundaries. And patience. And limits. But a parent's job is to set those boundaries, keep our cool, and enforce those limits. And in no way does it become more important than when dealing with behind-the-wheel rules.
So how can you protect your kids without micromanaging them and constantly fighting with them? It's simple if you remember four things:
- Driving is a privilege and not a right.
- It is YOUR choice whether or not they drive.
- Define expectations AND consequences early enough so that they know what the consequences of their choices will be ahead of time.
- Making them temporarily unhappy with pre-agreed upon consequences is nothing if it can help save their life someday.
Driving really can be a matter of life and death. Setting and keeping limits is critical.
Tip Three: Set A Good Example
For some parents, it can be hard. After all, they have business to attend to, not just "fun" things to do on their phones. But what teens see parents do, they are likely to emulate, regardless of what their parents tell them to do. So if you are part of the 77 percent of adults who text “all the time” (according to a 2012 AT&T study), stop and think. If you want your teen to do as you say, you may have to change what you do.
We understand that even if you and your teen are as safe as can be behind the wheel, accidents can and do happen. If your teen sustained injuries in an accident, speak with an Atlanta car accident attorney to discuss your options.
Contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. today: 404-474-0804.