As summer comes to a close and the school year begins, a lot more teen drivers will be taking over the roads. And why not? They have to learn eventually. Of course, while great responsibilities are linked with great power, so are the increased chances of needing to contact an auto accident attorney. Auto accidents involving teen drivers are the leading cause of death among American teens. In fact, in 2015 alone, over 2,330 teens were killed and almost 236,000 teens were treated in an emergency room due to accidents involving teen drivers. Fortunately, there are a few simple but effective tips to help keep your teens safe behind the wheel this autumn.
Prepare Your Teen for Seasonal Driving Challenges
Many teens drive as much as their parents allow during the summer. But seasonal changes can be a challenge for even the most experienced drivers. Everyone knows about the challenges of Midwest winter weather, but what about autumn? Temperatures can change in a snap from scorching to freezing. Torrential storms can occur without warning. And wet, slick, or leaf-coated roads can create instant fear and chaos. For a new or inexperienced driver, seasonal changes can and often do result in catastrophe. Discuss the issues with your teen, oversee extra practice time, and even enroll them in a reminder course for new drivers. The extra effort can be a literal lifesaver.
Review and Maintain Proper Car Care
Access to their own car, regardless of whether it’s a brand new one off the lot or an eight-year-old workhorse, can be a dream come true for a teen. But any car can overheat, break down, or have a sudden glitch without warning. Discuss basic car care and ensure all household vehicles receive proper and regular maintenance. Also, remind them of some of their responsibilities regarding car care: windows fog up and need to be washed, fluids need to be checked and topped off, and gas should never run low. A properly treated car is a well-oiled machine.
Always Follow the Rules of the Road
Basic driving behavior may be instilled from driver’s education, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t mean teen drivers don’t need ongoing reminders. Discuss speed limits around their common stomping grounds and the consequences of breaking those limits. Discuss the importance of respectful and defensive driving techniques. Discover and remind them of statewide and local driving curfews. Remind of local rules regarding passenger limitations and remind them and instill household rules. And be a model example by practicing what you preach. Yes, it’s a lot to do and discuss, but it’s better than the alternative.
Ditch the Distractions
Distractions are the most common causes of teen accidents. In fact, 60% of all teen crashes are distraction-based. Distracted driving issues may include reaching for an item, grooming or applying makeup, looking elsewhere besides on the road, and using a cell phone or mobile device. But the amount of passengers causes even more distractions than cell phone usage. The more passengers in the car with your teen, the more distractions will likely occur. So keep the passenger count to one or none whenever possible. And if you still need a competent auto accident attorney, we’re here to help get everyone back on the road.