Keeping Your Teen Driver Safe
Winter road conditions provide obvious hazards to an inexperienced teenage driver. Even experienced drivers find road peril in the Minnesota winters. Adverse road conditions can’t always be avoided and our children are driving themselves and other teen friends to school and after-school activities.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 16 to 20 year olds, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Every state has a graduated drivers license law that includes a three-phase program to help teens develop more mature driving attitudes and gain experience behind the wheel. While formal driver's training is instrumental in training a young driver behind the wheel, parental example and training is just as valuable.
Proper driving attitudes and experiences can help an inexperienced driver not only safely operate his or her vehicle but do so safely in winter road conditions that are less than ideal. Riding with a parent is where children see examples of driving conduct. They watch us and, invariably, mirror what we do. Think of that when you speed up to try to “catch the light” or when you check your text messages or phone while driving. Even worse, tailgating another driver and saying “let’s go” or “hurry up!” These are only a few examples. If the child learns from the parent that it’s okay to be in a hurry; to be distracted; and to even violate traffic laws; the child may do just that when it comes time to drive on his or her own.
Setting proper examples while we drive our kids around is a great start to the driver training process. Combine the examples we set behind the wheel with a graduated drivers license program and plenty of behind the wheel time will ultimately increase the chances that our teen drivers will be safe drivers.