Having Two Teen Drivers Turn My Hair Gray

Having teen drivers can be scary.  When we first did the parent-taught drivers ed with our oldest, we made a notebook filled with things to remember & think about when driving.  We read the book, practiced-practiced-practiced, and then you just have to set them free.

I remember folks around here asking me if my son drove the so-and-so truck because they were having to pass him on the road…apparently he was driving 50, max of 60.  Nothing wrong with old man driving is there? In fact, it’s better on gas mileage and they knew that, and since they had to pitch in on gas, they made sure to use it wisely.

We discussed many driving safety tips but something I’ve observed around these parts is that many accidents are small and it’s purely from already getting too comfortable and not paying attention to little things, like backing up.   Each year, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest 100 days for teen drivers and their passengers, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).  So today, I’m sharing some basic safety tips for you to remind your teen driver of the next time they head out on the road.

  • Situational awareness: To keep yourself out of danger, nothing is more effective than being aware of your surroundings.
  • Vision: Train your eyes to anticipate danger, focus as far ahead as you can see and use your peripheral vision to observe your immediate surroundings.
  • Stay focused: Distractions can result in fatal accidents. Parents should set rules limiting the number of passengers riding with a teenage driver. Using a cell phone, text messaging, changing the radio station or iPod tunes, or applying makeup should never be done while driving.  IF your kids are going to have their phone or ipods in the car, consider some technology gadgets like bluetooth devices and car mounts.  While we’d prefer them not use them all, we all know they will at some point so it’s better to be safe(r).
  • Speed and distance: Obey the speed limit, adjust your vehicle’s speed to match weather conditions and maintain a proper distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
  • Defensive-driving class: Practice is the best defense against accidents. A third-party instructor often can influence teens more effectively than the limitations of the typical parent–teen dynamic. Instructors are trained to teach teens car-control skills so they can avoid or minimize accidents.
  • Seating position: Proper seating position maximizes your ability to control your vehicle. Sarah provides tips to ensure drivers are positioned with arms the proper distance from the steering wheel and legs from the brake and gas pedals.
  • Set mirrors properly: Side mirrors can help maximize the view of the road, rather than reflecting the side of the car.
  • Steering position: For optimal control, hands should be placed at the three-o’clock and nine-o’clock positions on the steering wheel.
  • Tire pressure: Parents should teach their teenage drivers to check the pressure of all four tires once a month. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33,000 injuries and 700 deaths occur every year due to underinflated tires.
  • Safety equipment: Prepare the vehicle with the necessary safety equipment and an emergency kit. Cars equipped with stability-control systems, antilock-braking system and airbags help reduce accidents as well as the severity of injuries if an accident occurs.

Parents’ role

Parents can play such an important role in teaching their teenage drivers basic safety. First, y’all should be a good role model to your children when they are in the driver’s seat. That’s a given you know? Next, y’all should establish safe-driving rules and enforce them!!!  You also should enroll young drivers in defensive-driving courses. Finally, you parents should explain the responsibilities and dangers of handling a 3,000-plus-pound vehicle. I’ve skidded around on a dirt road at the age of 16 trying to show off so I KNOW how quick a car can go from straight, to erratic, to right into a tree.

I also recommend road assistance.  Allstate has a GREAT, pay-as-you-go service, Good Hands Roadside Assistance, that includes the following:

  • You do not need to have Allstate insurance to use this service
  • You only pay when you use it, there are no monthly fees
  • Anyone can call at any time and use this service when needed by calling a 1-800 # and asking for roadside assistance

You also do not need to sign up beforehand, but there is a significant benefit in doing so. You can register for up to 5 users on your account, and also enter your credit card information if you wish. So if you enter your children’s information and they run into an issue on the road, they are set up so that all they need to do is call the number and it will be charged to you, and only for that use.

 

Disclosure: I’m being compensated for my time to create this posts. I wanted to share the program with you because teen driving safety needs attention. As a mom of 2 teen drivers, I can feel better knowing my kids will always have help on the road! Opinions are my own, as always.

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Comments

  1. 1

    I have two teen drivers (boys), too, Lori. And oh my gosh, you are so right. It can be so maddening. Living in a rural area is so new to me and these windy, hilly, skinny roads really scare me when I think of my boys out there driving around! I’m sure if we were still in Dallas, I’d be scared to death of some other thing – who knows! I feel ya, though!

  2. 2


    jan says

    I just couldn’t do the teaching so we hired a private instructor for BOTH kids (18 and 20 now). School didn’t offer driver’s ed so to speak at the time and we really wanted a professional instructor since we live in an area of a lot of drivers of different backgrounds (foreign, canadian, new yorkers, midwest, etc.) … and felt that the instructor would offer a LOT of helpful stuff. Day one? Oakland Park Blvd (6 lane road) to I95 to 595 to the airport and then back down federal highway. That makes MY heart pound. But heck, his theory is that he gets a feel for the kids right then and there. Yikes. Both have done fine, only MINOR fender benders (one didn’t realized the car in front was no longer riding the breaks but doing a fast stop and the other backed into a car that stopped behind him at school). I still have mini attacks when Im a passenger, drives them nuts!