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Topics to discuss with your teen before giving them the car keys

Teenagers in Davie enjoy the freedom of hitting the road once they get their driver’s license, whether they are driving to school, to a part-time job or running errands for their parents. Parents, however, may be concerned about their teen’s safety behind the wheel.  The following are some topics to discuss with your teen driver before handing over the car keys.

Discuss distracted driving

Teens seem to be glued to their cellphones these days, so it is essential that you discuss the dangers of cellphone use while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, dialing a phone number while driving ups the chance of a motor vehicle accident six-fold. Texting while driving is even worse. Sending a text message while behind the wheel increases the risk that a car crash will occur by 23 times. Note that texting and driving is not the only way a teen driver could be distracted. Chatting with passengers, adjusting the music or GPS and eating while driving are all distractions that could lead to a car crash.

Discuss speeding

Teenagers are less experienced than older drivers and cannot always appreciate the danger speeding presents, especially if it seems like everyone else is regularly driving above the speed limit. However, the NHTSA reports that speeding played a role in 27% of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers in 2019. A second study reports that from 2000-2011 teens were involved in nearly 20,000 speed-related motor vehicle accidents. Emphasize the importance of following the speed limit or even driving slower due to inclement weather, in work zones and in school zones.

Discuss impaired driving

Drunk and drugged driving should be avoided by all motorists. Teens especially may try to experiment with drugs and alcohol, not fully understanding how these substances will affect them. This could have deadly results. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that teens are more likely than all other age groups to lose their life in a drunk driving crash. According to one data set, in 2019 alcohol played a role in 16% of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teen drivers. Drugs can also intoxicate drivers, whether they are legal or illegal substances. Make sure you emphasize to your teen how important it is to avoid driving while impaired.

Discuss drowsy driving

Teens these days have jam-packed schedules, between school, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs and homework. This can cause a teen to not get as much sleep at night as they should. However, it is essential that teens get an adequate amount of sleep before driving to avoid causing a drowsy driving crash. In 2019 alone nearly 700 lives were lost in drowsy driving crashes. Some studies estimate that drowsiness played a role in over 10-20% of motor vehicle accidents resulting in injuries or fatalities. Make sure your teen is getting enough sleep before driving.

Your teen is looking up to you

In addition to having these important discussions, remember to model good driving habits as well — your teens look up to you. Driver safety should be an ongoing topic of conversation. Ensure your teen knows the rules set both in law and by you, so they can be safe drivers and avoid becoming another car accident statistic.