Summer is right around the corner and for many teens just getting off from school, they are about to delve in to the world of driving for the first time. This is a big deal, and this should be just as big a deal for the parents as much as it may be for the youngsters.
I remember my first driving experience. To me, the whole thing was associated with immense thrill, and to be honest, I hadn’t really given much consideration to safety as I should have. Slowly, however, I realized that when you’re behind the wheel there’s so much more than the thrill that is involved in the entire process. To put it straight on the table, your life and the lives of the passengers, if any, is basically entirely in your hands. This thought itself was enough to open my eyes to the importance of driving safety and caution.
Let’s face it: driving safety is the first and foremost responsibility of the parents. After all, a teenager’s first 500 miles of driving are the most dangerous, where teens are 10 times more likely to crash than an adult. The question, however, is how should parents approach this topic? To begin, it is important to note that this shouldn’t merely be a one-time discussion with the child; in fact it should be a series of conversations all revolving around this particular subject. But, before parents can start discussing driving with their teens, it is imperative for them to be educated on this matter to begin with. For example, it is important for them to understand that drinking alone is not the sole cause of all teen driving accidents. Speeding and distractions, especially texting or talking on the phone, are some of the other most common causes.
Talking to teenagers about driving shouldn’t be forceful or reprimanding in any way. In fact, it is important to make them aware and talk to them about the reality: how thousands of lives are lost through driving. Explain to them that as redundant and dry traffic regulations may seem, they are in fact in their best interest. They need to be told that there is nothing more important than their own life and safety. Causes of driving accidents should be properly communicated. Of course that will involve telling them the dangers of drunken driving and how phone use in the driver’s seat should be minimized, if not completely eliminated. Speeding needs to be avoided in all circumstances, no matter how late you are to a meeting, a party, or even an exam.
Although there’s a lot of different angles that parents can take when discussing the aforementioned factors with their children, the best option is to basically practice what you preach. If they implement their own advice while driving with their children, the kids are more likely to naturally adopt it. Letting your teen drive with you is always a great way to see how they’re doing and whether they can be corrected in any way or not.
Parental involvement is always considered mandatory and with driving accidents becoming such a frequent story, this subject should slowly be turning in to table talk with the teens. The more aware they are, the better it will be for everyone!
Allison Midori Reilly is the CEO and Founder of Stirring Media, LLC. Stirring Media, LLC is a content marketing and news production firm that provides content marketing and business blogging services to the small business market. In her spare time, Reilly is an active member of Amnesty International as well as an avid poker player.