It is important for every parent to understand the biggest risk factors, set limits, and discuss safe driving with their teen.
Teens in Missouri are more likely to get into car accidents for a vast number of reasons, but two major factors are that they can make poor decisions, and they simply don’t have the same amount of experience as people who have been driving for years. If you want to try to limit the potential that your teen gets into a car accident, knowing their biggest risk factors might help you to set limits and talk to them about what to – and what not to do – when they get behind the wheel.
The Danger of Inexperience
Due to a combination of poor choices and inexperience, teens can often get into accidents because they have too many people in their car. The more people that are in the car, the greater their liability, and the more likely they are to be distracted while driving. If you are going to let them have a car, make sure to set a limit of one passenger until they are a more experienced driver and have proven that they make good decisions behind the wheel. The number of passengers that they carry in the car does have a huge impact on their risk of getting into an accident. Limit them to one passenger until they show that they can handle more.
Distracted driving is one of the biggest accident risk factors for any driver, but especially for teenagers. Not only can distracted driving lead to getting in serious trouble legally, it could also end up in a fatal accident. Be sure to make it very clear that there is no texting or using their cell phone allowed when driving. It is a good idea to ban using even hands-free technology, to ensure that they keep their attention on the road instead of multitasking when driving.
Drinking and Driving
Drinking and driving is a huge risk factor for teenage car collisions, because teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like drinking and getting behind the wheel. If they have been drinking at a party and they fear that they will get in trouble if they call you, they may end up making a poor decision and deciding to drive home. If you are going to let them go out for the evening, you may consider having them FaceTime you before they head out in the car. You want to trust them, but it is better to trust and verify when it comes to keeping them safe.
Explain clearly what is acceptable and what is not, and trust – but verify – to ensure that they make it home safe and sound.