Teenagers are bad drivers, right? They text behind the wheel, speed to impress their friends and barely pay attention. Or so the stereotype says. But parents can help their teens rise above that stereotype and stay safe while driving. Here are two important ways to do that:
Insist on total focus. Make sure your teenager understands that any behind-the-wheel activity other than driving can dramatically increase the odds of an accident. Insist that your teen ignore their phone and any incoming messages while driving. (There are even apps that can help you make sure your teens aren’t texting or talking while driving.) When driving with a teen, teach them to keep an eye out for distractions, like a mattress flying out the back of a pickup truck. Yes, it happens! On the road, a lot can go wrong, so paying constant attention to the task at hand is key to reaching your destination safely.
Teach the 3- to 4-second rule. A big cause of accidents among young adults involves tailgating. Make sure your teen knows to stay at least 3 to 4 seconds behind the car in front of them — increasing the amount of time for higher speeds and weather conditions. Since the greatest chance of a collision is in front of you, this is an important one. Following at a safe distance allows your teen ample time to respond.