Most parents are nervous about their teenager learning to drive, so Johnson Attorneys Group has put together this safety guide as a tool for parents to use and work on driving skills with their teenagers.
Eventually it’s going to happen so it’s best to be prepared to discuss the rules with your new driver before you hand over the keys.
Indeed, young drivers need to be aware of the dangers and rules of the road long before they get behind the wheel and step on the gas. Start discussing safe driving practices before you sign them up for driver education.
Teenagers lack experience and are more susceptible to accidents, but given proper education and guidance they will make good drivers. Here are some common road and safety tips to help teenage drivers stay safe on the road:
Buckle Up: Parents should always wear their seatbelt and require their children to do the same. Teenagers have the lowest rate of seat belt among all age groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Statistics show that more than half of young people who died in collisions were not using seat belts. There were 1,885 young drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in traffic crashes in 2020, up 17 percent from 1,616 in 2019, the CDC reports.
Speed Limits: New drivers often have a “lead foot,” but remind them that this will get them into trouble because they do not have the skills to react quickly to other drivers yet. Also, some road conditions such as heavy rain require drivers to adjust their speed significantly to avoid a crash.
Limit Passengers: Limit the number of passengers in a teenager’s car because it is an obvious distraction for the inexperienced driver. In California, teens with a restricted license are not permitted to have passengers under the age of 20 with them, unless they are also accompanied by a licensed driver age 25 or older.
Night Driving should be avoided when possible because visibility is reduced. However, to obtain a driver’s license, a new driver must practice for 10 hours at night under adult supervision. However, California law prohibits teens from driving unsupervised between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. because the risk of being involved in a collision is highest. Furthermore, the CHP reports that 40 percent of all teen driver collisions resulting in a fatality occurred between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Use Turn Signals: It sounds obvious, but student drivers should understand that changing lanes without ample warning to other drivers is a risk to a collision. Teenage drivers should put safety first at all times. Check blind spots and learn to turn on signal at least five seconds before moving.
Obey Traffic Rules: Remind teens to never roll through a stop sign and maintain the speed limit so they can stop safely when a light turns red. Another tip for new drivers is to wait a couple of seconds and look both ways before entering an intersection to avoid being broadsided by a driver who might run a red light or stop sign.
Practice in Different Conditions: Take teenagers out in various driving conditions such as rain and snow if you live in the mountains. It’s better for them to learn and build confidence with a parent there to guide them rather than be alone in their first major downpour. Also, make sure the teen’s car has working windshield wipers.
Maintain Your Vehicle: Speaking of maintenance, make sure any vehicle your teen is driving is safe by having it regularly serviced and inspected including its brakes, tires, lights, and other essential systems. People whose vehicles break down on the freeway are in danger of being hit and even killed.
Take Driver’s Education: A new driver will benefit from a comprehensive driver’s education course, but parents should also work with their teenager to help them gain valuable skills and knowledge. No one has a bigger stake in your child’s success than you do.
Plan Ahead: Help your teen driver plan out their route before they leave so they are not fumbling with their cell phone or taking their eyes off the road.
Remember, driving habits begin early and safe driving habits will endure for a lifetime. Try to be supportive when your teenager does the right thing and avoid overreacting to mistakes in the early stages of driver education.
Teens are going to make mistakes, but with your encouragement and guidance let’s hope they are only minor ones. For more safety for teenage drivers, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration site and read more on our website.
Johnson Attorneys Group provides this information as a guide to help families make good choices. However, if you would like to contribute any information or have legal questions, please contact us as soon as possible. Our law firm is a proud, longtime supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
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