When it comes to teenage car accidents and injuries, the state of Illinois reports some staggering statistics. Not only are car crashes the leading cause of death among young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20, but the fatality rate for teen drivers is also three to five times higher than other, older age groups. Studies show that some of the key reasons for this difference are teenagers’ lack of driving experience, paired with their increased tendency to take risks. As the parent of a teenager, you are likely already on edge about the arrival of the driving milestone in your teen’s life, and statistics such as these can only intensify the grave reminder that driving for young people is especially dangerous. However, there are thankfully a number of ways to motivate and help your teenager drive safely as he or she hits the road.
Recommendations for Helping Your Teen Practice Safe Driving
Even if your teenager has been driving for some time now, it is never too late to work on changing habits, adopting new practices, and encouraging better behavior behind the wheel. Here is some practice advice on how to accomplish that:
Avoid hypocrisy – Psychologists have revealed studies that show parents who set an example behind the wheel make a serious impression on their teen drivers. For example, 45 percent of parents have admitted to speeding while driving, 62 percent say they use their phone to call or text, and 25 percent say they drive aggressively. To add to these disturbing figures, 55 percent of parents admit to using apps while driving, and teens from all of these survey studies report they have asked their parents to stop these behaviors. No matter how old you are, living in a digital world means that you are tempted regularly – sometimes by the minute – to look at your phone while driving. Your days may also be busier than ever before, making it all too easy to get caught up in racing to your next destination or cutting someone off to make it through a green light. When you are driving, however, keep in mind that the example you set behind the wheel is crucial in establishing the foundation for your teenager’s driving experience. As difficult as it can be to practice what you preach, putting action to your words really is one of the most effective ways to influence your child’s driving behaviors.
Do not text or call when you know your teen is driving – Research shows that many parents attempt to contact teenagers when they know their child will be driving. While it is only natural to expect an update from your teen as he or she journeys toward a destination, having this expectation can create dangerous distractions while he or she is behind the wheel. Research also shows that teens who know it is their parent calling or texting are more likely to answer than if the communication was from someone else. Respecting your child’s need to concentrate and stay focused on the road is important for ensuring he or she can drive safely. Try communicating with your child beforehand, and give clear, simple instructions to follow to ensure he or she contacts you upon arrival at his or her destination. You can also give guidance on what to do or how to reach out for help if he or she encounters trouble while driving, such as getting a flat tire or running into unexpected inclement weather. The more you communicate with your teen before they leave the house, the less either of you will feel the need to talk during the actual trip.
Set rules and stick to them – As with so many other areas of parenting a teenager, creating and communicating a hard set of consequences for poor choices goes a long way toward protecting your child’s best interests. Establish some behind-the-wheel ground rules for your teen, and stick to them to ensure he or she takes driving seriously and understands it is both a responsibility and a privilege.
Contact a Schaumburg Car Accident Attorney
Has your teen driver been involved in a car accident, despite your best efforts to promote safe driving? Contact a competent, experienced Palatine personal injury lawyer right away to ensure your teen’s rights are protected. Your family may be entitled to compensation for any injuries that occurred due to another motorist’s negligence. Speak with our dedicated team of attorneys at Newland & Newland LLP today by calling us at 847-797-8000 and scheduling a free consultation.