Talk to your Youthful Driver before they hit the road.
For many young adults, getting their driver’s license is a rite of passage. For many parents, it is the beginning of a new source of worry and anxiety in our lives. While our children are out enjoying their new-found freedom, we parents are at home anxiously awaiting their safe return.
We as parents need to talk to our kids and explain to them the dangers of driving. Let them know that along with their privilege to drive, there are also certain responsibilities and expectations that have been set. Here are a few of the “hot topics” to start the discussion:
- Put down the cell phone while driving! No phone call, text, selfie or social network update is worth losing your life over (or possibly ending someone else’s life). Explain to them that if they absolutely have to do one of these things, to simple pull over, in a safe area, and return the phone call or text.
- No extra passengers. Our kids may have the best group of friends that we could ever hope for, but let’s face it, extra people in the car can be a distraction. Whether it a discussion on which radio station to listen to or what happened at school that day, it is easy for our new drivers to get more involved in what is going on inside the car than actually driving the car. So, as a parent, we need to limit the number of passengers that your child is allowed to have in the vehicle at one time.
- No speeding. If they are just learning to drive a car in the first place, they sure don’t need to be driving one at an excessive rate of speed! Plus, if they get caught speeding, they could possibly stand the chance of losing their license. Not to mention, what is going to happen to the insurance rates by having a youthful driver with speeding violations on their record!!
- No alcohol or drugs. I’m not one of those parents that say’s “my child would never do that.” I can tell them not to drink and drive, explain to them all of the dangers of drinking and driving and hope that they don’t put themselves in that situation. With all of this being said, I also understand that kids (along with adults) don’t always make the best decisions, and that peer pressure can sometimes make kids do things that they know they should not do. I always made it clear to my son when he started driving (and will make it clear to my daughter when she starts to drive), that drinking and driving is not acceptable! BUT….. If they are ever in a situation where they have been drinking and need to get home (OR IF THEY HAVE RIDDEN SOMEWHERE WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN DRINKING AND IS GOING TO DRIVE), to simply call me and let me get them home safely. We will deal with the consequences at a different time, but let me make sure that they get home.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Stress that even if they are just going less than a mile to a friend’s house, they still need to wear their seatbelt every time they are in the car, or in someone else’s vehicle!
Car crashes are the leading cause of death for 15 – 19-year old’s in the United States. Let’s talk to our kids and explain the dangers of driving. Let’s not let them become part of the statistic.