Individuals ages 16-19 are more likely to get into an automobile accident than any other age group and if you are a parent, this really is your worst fear. These accidents could be blamed on many things including inexperience and distractions and every time a young driver leaves the house with keys in hand, there is a chance one of these accidents could occur. Unfortunately, as a parent, there is nothing you can do to completely eliminate this possibility. However, there are rules that you could consider enforcing in your household in order to decrease the possibility.
Statistics show that the possibility of an accident among 16-17-year-old drivers increases with each additional passengers. Because young drivers have little experience with driving with friends, every additional passenger is a chance for an additional distraction. Today, each passenger also comes with a cell phone where they are streaming constant information and social media, which also increases the likelihood that your young driver will take their eyes off of the road.
Enforcing a passenger limit is one great way to help prevent your young driver from becoming distracted. Some parents set the limit to only one passenger. In fact, there are many states that outline this type of law and have guidelines in place based on a driver’s age. Before your child gets out on the road, be sure to check local and state law to make sure that your rules are aligned so that your child is not breaking the law.
Although accidents can happen anywhere, it is wise to attempt and limit the amount of distance driven by your teenager in order to help prevent accidents. As stated before, young drivers are more easily distracted, and when driving in unfamiliar territory, distractions are more likely to occur.
When your driver first hits the road, enforce rules for a driving radius. For example, they are only allowed to drive within 10 miles of home on any given day. Another way that parents enforce this rule is by limiting the locations that teens are allowed to drive to, i.e., school, work, or a best friend’s house. By limiting the areas where your child drives, you are helping them to become more confident with their driving skills in a familiar area before you set them free.
One way to help ensure that the rules you have enforced are being kept is to designate specific check-in times and locations with your teenager. If your child knows they are going to be held accountable for their actions and for following the rules, they are more likely to stick to them.
Every time your child reaches their destination, have them call or video chat you to let you know they are there. If you can hear their voice or see their surroundings, you may find that you are more comfortable with them being out on the road. Additionally, many phones have the ability to have the location tracked, which will allow you to know where your child is to help hold them accountable and in case of an emergency.
Having a young driver can be very nerve-wracking, but having rules in place may help to calm your nerves and increase your confidence that they will be okay.