Did you know that one of the most dangerous years in a person’s life is the first twelve months after getting a driver’s license? With a teenager in our house who’s just a little over 18 months away from getting her license, the thought is terrifying. It leaves me wondering what we can do to make her first year of teenage driving easier for her.
Thankfully, I had the opportunity to take our teen, as well as a few of our family members to our local Drive it Home event put on by The Allstate Foundation, where we got to take a fun look at something as serious as teenage driving.
In Texas, there were 1,122 fatalities in crashes involving at least one 15-19 year old motor vehicle driver from 2009-11, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. A total of 414 teen drivers (15-19), 183 teen passengers (15-19) and 121 other age passengers (15-19) in the teen’s vehicle and 403 others were killed in those crashes.
Research also shows that inexperience is the number one cause of teen crashes, but only 17% of Texas parents believe this is the top cause. This is slightly lower than the 18% national average.
Lifesaving Tips For Teenage Driving
1. Spend at least 30 minutes each week driving with your newly licensed teen.
2. Practice specific skills with your newly licensed teen in the following areas:
- Scanning the road ahead to recognize and respond to hazards.
- Controlling speed, stopping, turning, and following distance.
- Judging the gap between vehicles in traffic — such as exiting parking lots and left-hand turns.
- Managing the highest driving risks, such as night driving and driving with young passengers in the car.
3. Be the type of driver you want your teen to be. They are watching you and learning. Are you texting or talking while driving? Are you wearing your seat belt? They will do the same.
4. If it’s raining out, put your teen behind the wheel. They need the extra practice in dangerous situations, knowing you are there to guide them. More than half of all Texas teens wish their parents had spent more time teaching them to drive in demanding situations.
Nearly 30 percent of parents are not setting rules around some of the most dangerous behaviors including nighttime driving and passengers in the car. Did you know that the accident rate doubles with each passenger in their car? It’s a scary thought.
Sixty-four percent of parents are actively looking for resources to help manage their teens’ driving experience and driveithome.org has you covered. You can sign up to receive weekly driving practice tips and suggestions via e-mail, and print, discuss and sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.
With Texas law requiring teens to log a minimum of 50 hours of driving practice before they can obtain a driver’s license, I’m convinced it’s not nearly enough for our teen. Thankfully, we now know ways to help make sure she gets where she’s going safely every day.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.