AA010760The sense of freedom teens get from being behind the wheel is undeniable. But there is no doubt more teens die in car crashes​ than from any other cause. More than from suicide and homicide combined. It is a national crisis. Mile for mile, teenagers are three times more likely to be involved in a crash compared with other drivers. Only 54% of high school students reported always wearing a seat belt when riding with someone else. More than 12 young people (ages 15 – 19) die in teen crashes in the U.S. every single day!​

As their parents, we want to keep them safe. And we can. If we understand the risks teenagers face – we can help them beat the odds. How? Mostly by staying involved as they gain experience over that first year after they get their license to drive alone.

Few teens and preteens ever think about the rules of the road or how to drive safely until they’re just about to start driving. For something as important as driving, we want your kids to get a head start. Here are a few ways to provide teens and preteens with the tools and support they need to make responsible choices.

Top Tips

  • Talk to your kids about passenger safety. We’ll make it easy for you. Check out our Countdown2drive program, which helps you put together a passenger agreement and guidelines for pre-teens and teens that are specially tailored for your family.
  • Be a good example. Kids are always watching, even when you think they’re not. Try to eliminate distractions by not using a cell phone or texting while driving. Use your teen or preteen to read maps and help with finding locations.
  • Teach your kids to ride with experienced drivers and never get in the car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. Parents must decide what “experienced” means.
  • Make it a rule that kids younger than 13 ride like a VIP – in the back. This is the safest place for preteens and younger children to sit.

 

Learn More

Consider downloading and printing a Drive It Home agreement to discuss with your teen that can become a roadmap to safer driving. And sign up for Drive It Home’s service that gives you ideas on what and how to practice driving with your teen AFTER they get their license. And share with other parents how this is working for you.