TEENS AND SAFE DRIVING: What Parents Can Do To Help
The start of summer also marks the beginning of the “100 Deadliest Days for Teens”— the time betweenMemorial Day and Labor Day that is traditionally the deadliest for teen drivers.
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens, and more teens are killed on the road during summer than any other time of year.
But parents can do more than just stand by and worry this summer; when it comes to safe driving, parents have more influence over their teens’ behavior than they might expect, say experts featured on BeSmartBeWell.com/Teen-Driving in a series of new videos produced by the health and wellness website.
“Parents play a key role in preventing teen crashes. When asked whose opinions they listen to, teens most often said their parents,” says Erin Sauber-Schatz, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the CDC and one of the experts featured on BeSmartBeWell.com/Teen-Driving.
Parents can turn to BeSmartBeWell.com, where experts and real-life parents provide practical advice for starting conversations about safe driving and getting teens the driving experience they need to be safe behind the wheel.
Be clear and be involved
Teens who think their parents will be upset with them if they engage in risky driving are less likely to take risks when behind the wheel. That is why it’s important for parents to communicate their expectations for safe driving clearly.
Tanya, a mom featured on BeSmartBeWell.com/Teen-Driving, has been very clear with her teen daughter about driving rules and what happens when the rules are violated.
“It’s important to let her know the consequences. If she doesn’t follow through, she’ll know what I expect from her,” Tanya says. “She’ll know what she’s supposed to do, what’s wrong and what’s right.” Watch Tanya and her daughter negotiate their family’s rules of the road.
Tanya also makes sure Daija gets lots of supervised driving practice, essential for keeping teens safe behind the wheel. “You should be driving with your teen as much as possible,” says Flaura Winston, M.D., director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital ofPhiladelphia and one of the experts featured on BeSmartBeWell.com/Teen-Driving. “The more hours the better, and in a variety of conditions.”
Not sure how to begin?
A parent-teen driver agreement can help parents start a conversation about safe driving. A teen driver agreement lists driving rules – like always wear a seat belt, never text and drive, etc. – and spells out consequences for violating those rules.
Negotiating the terms of the agreement together helps parents communicate their expectations, and garners teen buy-in, says the CDC’s Sauber-Schatzin a video on BeSmartBeWell.com/Teen-Driving. “It lets the teens and parents work together to set up the consequences.”
BeSmartBeWell.com/Teen-Driving provides practical information to help parents of teen drivers. At BeSmartBeWell.com/Teen-Driving, parents will find:
- Interviews with leading experts, real parents and real teens
- Sample driving agreements
- Reputable resources and links for more information
- A quiz about the risks to teen drivers.
At the site, visitors can also sign up for the bimonthly Spotlight Newsletter and biweekly News Alerts for in-depth articles and breaking news on teen driving and other important health topics.
About Be Smart. Be Well.
BeSmartBeWell.com is sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Divisions of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
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