Top 5 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Teen Driver Safe
We all know that teenagers aren’t the best drivers, but you may not know just how bad the problem really is. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that teenagers 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers older than 20.
In 2011, seven teenagers 16 to 19 died every single day as a result of injuries from a car crash. There were almost two times more deaths among males than females.
Teens are more at risk because they are not as experienced at driving and so are not able to truly understand the dangers they face or to make the appropriate decisions to react to them. Teens are also more likely to speed, to tail gate, and to drive without wearing a seat belt.
All of this information is enough to keep parents awake at night and to swear they won’t let their children drive until they are 30. But all drivers have to start somewhere, and instead of keeping your teens from driving, you can take some proactive measures that will keep your teens safe while also giving them the chance to become better drivers.
Here are the top five things you can do to keep your teen driver safe:
Buy the Right Car
No car can control what your teen does behind the wheel. However, the right car can provide balance to your teen’s bad decision making and can provide additional protection.
For example, you should look for cars that have plenty of air bags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, collision alert systems, rearview and blind spot cameras, and other safety features. The more safety features the car includes, the better.
Shopping at Chevrolet dealers is highly recommended since you will have your choice of a large selection of affordably priced vehicles that are loaded with safety features.
We highly recommend the 2016 Chevy Malibu, which also features a special teen driver mode. This mode limits the speed the car will travel, issues a warning when the speed is getting too high, limits the volume for the radio, allows parents to mute the radio entirely, and provides a report card for parents to check things like speed, following distance and more.
The car helps teens makes better decisions and saves them from their own impulses.
Provide Plenty of Training
One reason that teens are at such higher risk on the road is that they just don’t have the experience driving that they need. Their risk lowers as they spend more time on the road.
You can set your teen drivers up for success by providing as much training as possible. You can sign your teen up for a driver education course, and you should also give your teen plenty of opportunities to drive while you are in the car.
Whenever you are out running errands, let your teen take the wheel (assuming he has his learner’s permit, of course). Have driving sessions after work and on the weekends as often as possible. You’ll give your teen plenty of practice, and you’ll be there to offer guidance and tips along the way.
The law in your state likely already graduates driving privileges through a learner’s permit and a full license. However, you can also graduate your teen’s privileges to improve his experience over time.
For example, night driving and driving with distractions such as the radio or other passengers can increase your teen’s risk on the road. You might graduate your teen’s privileges so that he can only drive to school at first and after a few months, he can pick up one friend to carpool. After a few more months, you might let them have up to two friends in the car.
You’ll have to create the schedule that makes the most sense for your teen’s strengths and needs.
Use Phone Apps
Even the most obedient and responsible teens may break the rules when they are alone. You can use apps to help be your “eyes” when you are not there.
For example, the Canary app and MamaBear app both send a notification when your teen is engaging in unsafe driving practices, such as speeding or traveling to places you have deemed off limits. The Drive Smart app blocks your teen from sending or receiving text messages or phone calls while driving. The “Plus” version of the app automatically turns on when the car is in motion.
Drivesafe.ly Pro allows only hands-free use of the cell phone while driving, which may be suitable for more experienced teen drivers who have earned greater privileges.
Make Your Teen Accountable
You can put all the rules in place that you like, but they won’t mean anything if your teen isn’t held accountable. When you establish the rules, establish clear consequences for violating them.
For example, the consequence for using the phone while driving may be that your teen loses phone privileges for the week. If your teen violates that rule again, the consequences may be losing driving privileges for the week.
Using apps is another way to enforce these rules. Otherwise, you may never know if your teen used the phone or drove over the speed limit.
In addition to consequences, provide support for your teen if rules are broken. For example, if you catch your teen speeding, you might spend more time together practicing driving and reviewing safe rules for the road.
The more you do to help your teen become a better driver, the safer he or she will be on the road. Starting with a safe car is absolutely essential, and your local Chevrolet dealers are ready to help you find the right car.
Stop by DePaula Chevrolet today to explore our extensive selection and to take a test drive with your teen. Our friendly associates will explain the safety features available on our cars and help you find the right model for your novice driver.