Let’s face it, the time will come when your teen will hit the road for the first time to take on one of the most exciting times in their lives: Driving. It can be somewhat scary partly because your little baby is not so much a baby anymore, and partly because teenage car accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths. Last year, almost 5,000 teen drivers were involved in fatal car wrecks. The best way to ensure that your child is driving safe is to motivate them, in more ways than one!
Your teenager needs to know the statistics on teenage car accidents. This opens their eyes to how dangerous and risky teen driving really is. This information should be used to increase their safety, not ruin their fun. Some major factors come into play such as immaturity, distractions, speeding, and not wearing a seat belt. Your 16-19 year-old teen drivers are more likely to get into a fatal accident than any other driving age, and they need to know that.
Explain to your teen how expensive it is to pay car insurance simply because they are a teen. Let them know that if they get into a car accident, your monthly insurance premiums will go sky high, it is expensive to get an automobile repaired, and points will be added to their driver’s license. Explain to them that more points on their license means the possibility of a suspended license, which in turn means no driving. No teen wants that!
Because teenagers are so influenced by other teenagers, let them speak with their friends who also drive and have experienced car accident injuries and really bad car wrecks. Lecturing your child is more likely to be ignored, but if another teen talks to them, they are more likely to listen. Don’t be afraid to tell your teen details about your own bad car accident experiences and how you felt when it happened. It could be a minor fender bender, side-swipe, or even a drunk driving incident. It’s not about being embarrassed about your own mistakes, but getting them to see past the “usual lecture” and begin to listen to your advice.
Whether you’re showing them pictures of car accidents, enforcing penalties like reducing their driving privileges or making them pay for their speeding tickets, pay attention to their reactions. You will start to get a better idea of what affects them the most and what will cause them to be a safe teenage driver. Be sure to talk to them often to stay current on their thoughts, experiences, and feelings about maturing as a driver. No one said it will be easy, but keeping your child alive is definitely worth it!