As your teenagers get old enough to drive, discussing teen driving safety is just as important as taking them to get their learner’s permits. Did you know that over 2,000 drivers have been killed in car crashes involving teen drivers in recent years? Educating your teen on safe driving can reduce that number, making the roadways safer for everyone.
In today’s blog, we’re discussing teen driving safety, including how you can make the roadways safer for your teen and everyone involved. We’re explaining how the graduated driver licensing system works and providing you with three tips on teen driving safety. Keep reading to learn more!
The Graduated Driver Licensing System
An excited, newly-minted licensed driver is a huge risk on the road. The teenage brain hasn’t fully matured. Because of this, it’s essential to set boundaries for your teens. Allowing them to drive themselves to school every day is a great place to start. But letting them take the highway several towns over might be too much freedom too quickly.
After all, your teen is still learning how to drive. It will take a decent amount of driving for your teen to gain experience and become a skilled driver. Issues like speeding, forgetting laws and making mistakes, and distracted driving make your teen a roadway hazard.
Thankfully, every state in the United States recognizes this. A graduated driver licensing system is in place across the country to keep roads safer for everyone. Every state is a little different, but they all have laws regarding when you can get your permit, how long you need it for before you can get your license, what time of day you can drive, and how many passengers you can have during your first year on the road.
Most states have three stages for teens to go through before driving without restrictions.
- Learner stage; where your teen learns to drive with an adult in the car. Your teen passes the learner’s stage when they pass their driver’s test.
- Intermediate stage; where your teen has their license, but they aren’t allowed to drive on their own in high-risk situations.
- Full privilege stage; where your teen has a standard driver’s license.
The intermediate stage of driving typically comes with the following restrictions:
- No cell phone use except to call 911 in an emergency
- Restricted driving hours
- Passenger restrictions
These laws are designed to protect your teen and other drivers on the road. For example, it’s harder to see at night, so limiting their driving during these hours will reduce the number of accidents that happen.
But even with the safety precautions already in place, it’s essential to talk to your teen about safe driving. Here are some tips to help your teen drive safely after earning that prized license.
Influence your teen.
You can positively influence your teen by sharing your own experiences. Were you in an accident when you were their age? Could you have been a safer driver? Knowing that you weren’t perfect and so you want them to be careful to avoid your mistakes will help your teen understand how important it is for them to be careful.
Remember that actions speak louder than words. When driving with your teen in the car, do so without any alcohol in your system, even if it’s been a long day. Don’t speed or demonstrate signs of road rage. Keep cell phone use limited to emergencies, and keep your eyes on the road while you’re driving.
Set rules, rewards, and consequences for your teen.
Set rules for your teen to follow when they’re on the road. Install an app on their phone that allows you to track their driving. Reward your teen for good driving, but set consequences for breaking the rules.
For example, if your teen follows the rules all week, you might let them have the family car for an extra hour on the weekend. But your teen could lose driving privileges one weekend if they speed or drive home past curfew.
Setting rules, rewards, and consequences for your teen will encourage good driving behaviors and discourage them from breaking the rules.
What rules should you set? Here are some ideas:
- No driving after drug or alcohol use
- No eating or drinking while driving
- No music or music kept at a low to moderate volume
- No driving without a seat belt
- No driving when emotional (tired, angry, upset, etc.)
- No talking on the phone, even if it’s hands-free, unless the car is in park
- No hitchhiking
Did you know that your teen is two-and-a-half times more likely to drive while distracted if they have more than one passenger in the car? This risk goes down dramatically with one other person in the car, and even further down if they drive without passengers. As it turns out, not having passengers greatly reduces distractions.
Just because the law states that your teen can drive with another passenger doesn’t mean you have to let them. You could make it a rule that they need to drive independently without getting into an accident for a set amount of time before you allow them to drive with a passenger. They might not like you for it, but it will keep them safe.
Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Can Help
Was your teen involved in a car crash? Were you involved in a collision with a teenage driver? It’s a traumatic, stressful experience to go through. We’re sorry to hear you’re experiencing it, especially in a situation involving teenagers. The risk of injury and car repairs is more significant with the increased dangers of teenage driving.
The good news is that Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton can help you through this difficult time. Located in Northern Utah, Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton has been representing clients for over 25 years. We’re experts at what we do, so you can trust us to take care of your personal injury case. Contact us today to set up a free case evaluation to see how our services can help you.