Teen drivers have always been a dangerous wild card on the roads, and in this age of smartphones and distracted driving a teen’s driving decisions are further impacted. This reality makes it all the more important for parents to discuss safe driving habits with the young driver in their home so that auto accidents can be avoided.
Teens Are Concerned About Their Own Driving
Travelers’ recently released Parent/Teen Safe Driving Survey found that teens who feel their parents are good role models as drivers are half as likely to have been in an auto accident. This statistic reinforces the belief that parents who make a point to actively discuss safe driving habits with their teen can have a positive influence on their child’s driving. Just as toddlers and preschoolers need to learn that actions have consequences, this truth is even more important when it comes to the rules of the road and your teenage son or daughter.
One of the most interesting survey findings is that parents and teens differ on what they consider the top driving worries. Surprisingly, 66 percent of teens are concerned about driving while intoxicated, compared to only 14 percent of parents; 56 percent of teens have concerns about distracted driving due to smartphone use versus only 35 percent of parents.
While many parents may rejoice at the day when their teen is officially a licensed driver and they no longer have to drive their child to 5 a.m. swim practice or umpteen after-school activities, there is still parenting to be done. If teens readily admit that they have reservations about their driving and what impacts their driving, parents need to make a more concerted effort to address these worries. Don’t ever assume that your child knows what’s right and what’s wrong – it’s crucial to state and restate that they should never drink and drive and never text or talk on their smartphone while driving.
Initiate the Driving Talk with Your Teen
Travelers and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) have created the Let’s Talk Safety Parent/Teen Safe Driving Coaching Guide to help facilitate open communication between parents and their teenage drivers on the importance of safe driving. Also available is an interactive infographic which shares important information about teen driving and tips on how to help your teen become a better driver.
Keep in mind that the sooner you discuss auto accidents and driving habits with your teen, the more impactful your message is likely to be. Younger teens are more receptive to safe driving conversations – 67 percent of 16-year-olds would like to have this talk, compared to 29 percent of 18-year-olds. And, don’t wait for your child to come to you – of this 67 percent of teens, half are waiting for their parents to initiate the conversation.