Missouri teens may be at a higher risk of having a motor vehicle accident than other age groups. They have less experience behind the wheel, and this can mean a greater likelihood of a crash. However, there are several things that their parents can do to help them become safer drivers.
Leading by example
One of the most important ways parents can improve their teen’s own driving is by example. Following the rules of the road and avoiding distracting behaviors, such as texting or talking on the phone, models good driving behavior. It is difficult for parents to speak with any authority about safe driving if they do not practice those same guidelines themselves. When they do, they can make these discussions about how to avoid motor vehicle accidents a normal part of conversations.
There are several safety rules and laws that parents should emphasize in particular. One is not drinking and driving. In fact, some parents make an agreement that they will come and pick up their teens with no questions asked rather than risk them getting behind the wheel of a car while impaired. Parents should also talk about the importance of following such laws as using turn signals, wearing a seat belt and stopping completely at both red lights and stop signs. It’s also a good idea to accompany them while driving in a variety of conditions, including during inclement weather and when traffic is heavy. This helps them build their confidence and skills.
Helping teens budget for expenses and become more involved in vehicle maintenance can increase their sense of ownership. This in turn can give them an overall greater sense of responsibility, which can mean more responsible driving.
It can be tough for parents to let their teens out on the road with the many hazards that they will face, but the vast majority of young drivers navigate them well and improve their skills. Parents can help play a big part in ensuring that teenagers grow into safe and responsible drivers.