One of the most nerve-wracking moments of any parent’s life is the first time you turn the car keys over to your newly licensed teen. Whether we are too aware of the dangers of driving, or remember our own mistakes as a teen driver, it’s almost impossible to feel completely comfortable watching our teen drive away. While we can’t protect them completely, in addition to teaching them driving laws, there are a few rules parents can put in place to help teenage drivers stay safe.
Driving at Night
Night time can be a hazardous driving time: visibility is diminished, and more drunk drivers are behind the wheel. If your state does not restrict night driving for teens, set your own driving curfew. It may mean more inconvenience for you to resume chauffeur duties, but it is an effective step in allowing your teen to gain more driving experience in the daytime before placing them in more challenging driving conditions.
Distracted driving is a major cause of many accidents. First thing a parent can do to reduce this hazard is to forbid their teen’s use of a cell phone while driving. Though it is a hard rule to enforce, the first step is talking. Share your concerns and facts about accidents involving cell phone use. Also, establish consequences: cell phone use while driving means loss of both driving and cell phone privileges.
Also, teens are easily distracted when their friends are in the car. Not only is it harder to hear and see other cars around them, but it’s harder to pay attention to the road. Some states actually limit new teen drivers to a set number of passengers. However, a parent can also restrict the number of passengers in their teen’s vehicle. Doing so not only decreases distractions, but also decreases your liability in the case of an accident.
Breakdowns and Flat Tires
Another concern is car breakdowns and flat tires. Not only must a parent worry about a teen being stranded, but they are likely aware that many people are struck by vehicles while stalled or attempting to change a tire on a busy roadway. First, make sure your teen has a cell phone for emergencies. For flat tires, remind your teen that no tire rim is worth more than their lives, so they should drive slowly to a safe location like a gas station, rather than pull to the side of the roadway. With car failure, try to drive to a safe location. But if they cannot, pull safely to the right side of the roadway and off the road if possible. Turn on their hazards, but do not stand next to or near the vehicle. If they can reach a safe location nearby without walking on major roadways, go there and call for help. If they cannot, do not exit the vehicle, but call for safety using a cell phone.
Other Teen Drivers
Your teen also needs to protect their safety with other teen drivers. Know whose car your teen may get into, that teens history, and their parents driving rules. Also, even sober teens have been injured or killed because they got into an impaired friends car. Make a pact with your teen that they can always call you if they do not feel safe, no questions asked. It is more important in this case that your teen make it home safely than giving them the third degree. If your teen is involved in an accident while riding in someone else’s vehicle, contact a Chicago personal injury lawyer who can provide you with assistance.
Brooke Haley marketing associate at Millon & Peskin, a Chicago workers compensation attorney that practice in the areas of Civil Litigation, Workers’ Compensation, and Personal Injury. Millon & Peskin is a General Civil Litigation Practice with the goal of representing the interests of injured workers, throughout all applicable Courts within the State of Illinois. For more information, please visit http://www.millonpeskin.com.