Thursday, September 29, 2016

Teen Driver Safety Week

October 16-22 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Many of you have teens on the road and may be concerned as they walk out the door with keys in hand.

Too many accidents happen each year due to unsafe teenage driving.  Risks involved can range from not wearing seat belts to speeding, to extra passengers, to distracted driving and even alcohol use.

Many of us have heard incredibly frightening statistics about teen drivers.  Many of those statistics were probably shared when we were back in school taking driver's ed ourselves.  However, studies show that those "scare" tactics rarely work.

So instead of sharing some of those scare tactics, focus on what you can do to keep your teen safe.  The first thing you can do is be an example.  Follow speed limits, don't talk on your phone or text while driving, and always be sure to never consume alcohol or drugs while driving or prior to driving.

Next, talk to your kids.  They can't listen, if you're not talking.  No guarantees your teen will listen the first time, but as you talk with them in nonthreatening situations, and over and over, they will listen.

The NHTSA has put for a "5 to Drive" campaign.  The "5 to Drive" are:
  1. No Drinking and Driving.  Teens are under the legal age to drink, and should never consume alcohol. You can also be an example by never drinking and driving, regardless of your age.
  2. Buckle Up.  Everyone in the car should always be buckled up.  It doesn't matter if passengers are in the front seat or the back, a child or an adult, a short trip or a long one.  Everyone needs a seat belt!
  3. Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel.  It is very easy to become distracted while driving.  Recommend that your teen (and yourself as well), keep their phone out of reach and on silent while driving.  It is illegal to operate a handheld device while driving in Utah, regardless of the age of the driver.
  4. Stop Speeding Before it Stops You. As your speed increases, so does your stopping distance.  It is important to follow the speed limit on the road, and also to decrease your speed as needed due to weather, temperature, and other factors on the road.
  5. No More Than One Passenger at Any Time.  With the increase of passengers, your teen's risk of a fatal crash goes up.  In Utah, a teen driver 15-17 cannot have other passengers in the car, besides immediate family for the first 6 months.  Stick to the laws, they are there to keep you and your teen safe.
Having a teenage driver in the house is really one of the best things out there.  You have another driver in the house that can run errands for you, drop kids off at lessons, or friend's house, and it helps your child take on more responsibility.  Arm your teen with the proper skills they need to be safe on the road.

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