Parents, teens, and teachers: This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and it offers a chance to reflect on the choices teens, and the adults they look up to, make behind the wheel. Established in 2007, National Teen Driver Safety Week is an effort to raise awareness of teen driver safety and encourage safe teen driver and passenger behavior. Teens should remain focused on the road, and on safe driving habits. Passengers should make an effort not to distract teen drivers and to promote those safe driving habits.
Teens and new drivers are at a greater risk of traffic accidents than older drivers, and in fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for our nation’s teens. A number of factors contribute to this statistic including risky driving behaviors, but also just plain inexperience. Young drivers are not as adept at scanning for hazards, driving in adverse weather conditions, remaining focused on the road, and following at the proper distance.
Encourage your teen to get the best driver’s education possible to lay the foundation for success behind the wheel. The Drug & Alcohol course from GDL Institute is an engaging, interactive, and educational course. Required for all Florida first-time teen drivers, the Drug and Alcohol course teaches driving law and practical driving skills, and also covers the dangers of other risky behaviors such as substance abuse, peer pressure, and more. Teaching teens to make educated and confident choices about positive behaviors will help to lay a foundation for good decision making behind the wheel, and in life.
Parents can also play a role in mentoring their teen drivers this week. If you are driving and your teen is a passenger in your vehicle, set a good example. Teens are observant and they are picking up on their parents’ bad driving behaviors. By practicing safe driving techniques yourself, you show them what is and isn’t acceptable. Buckle up; don’t become distracted by your cellphone or radio, and focus on the road ahead. For more tips on setting an example for your teen, check out our blog post, “Do As I Say, Not As I Do – Setting a Good Example for New Drivers.” This week reach out to the teen driver in your life and remind them that while driving is a privilege, and while driving independence can be a joy, it also comes with great responsibility.