How to Keep Your Kids Out of Car Crashes
You can help your teenagers avoid car crashes by stressing just a few important points. A recent study by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia found that 75 percent of teenage accidents are caused by just three factors: failing to scan ahead, driving too fast, and being distracted. Most teenage accidents are caused by inexperience in these areas. The lead author of the study noted that the first 500 miles or six months is when teenagers are most likely to be involved in a car accident. Teaching your teenagers the following precautions can help get them through this dangerous period of inexperience.
Road scanning. As an experienced driver, you have learned to watch the car not only immediately in front of you but also further up the road and behind you. New drivers have not yet developed this skill. Help your teenagers expand their road-scanning ability by "narrating" as they drive. Point out potential dangerous situations well in advance. Eventually they will begin to recognize these situations on their own.
Speed control. Most teenagers do not have the experience to know how much speed can safely be used under many situations. Likewise teenagers may not understand how long it takes for a car to stop or the effect speed has on maneuvering. For this reason, speed limits should be strictly followed. In areas like exit ramps, the speed limits are posted exactly for this reason: to provide a save exit speed for drivers who are not experienced enough or familiar enough with the area to determine this on their own. Also teach your children the effects of weather conditions like snow and rain on driving conditions.
Eliminating distractions. Parental rules like no cell phones and limits on the number of friends in the car at one time save lives. Radios, MP3 players, etc. should remain off until your teenagers have enough experience to control the vehicle without these distractions. Regardless of state requirements, parents should have their own probationary periods for teenage driving to make sure their teens have gained the experience necessary to "fly on their own." Experts suggest six months from the time teenagers receive their unrestricted license.
Source: The Boston Globe