Springtime and summer are the times when more teens get their drivers’ licenses. Obtaining a drivers’ license is not only an important rite of passage but also allows the young person to become independent. Yet, we have to be aware that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens (source: www.nhtsa.gov).
As parents, we have two tasks: to enable our teens to be competent drivers and to ensure their safety, the safety of their passengers and the safety of other drivers they encounter.
The three leading causes of accidents involving teenage drivers are:
- Teen passengers in the vehicle
- Nighttime driving
In Michigan, the graduated licensing system restricts passengers and nighttime driving for a time and requires a certain number of hours of driving to be logged.
The only cure for inexperienced driving is…experience! Allow your teen ample opportunities to drive, supervised by you or another trusted adult. When you are running errands, ask your teen to drive you. Take a road trip with your teen, making them enter and exit the highway. Be sure your teen drives at night, at dusk and at sunset. Take them to drive when it’s raining and snowing in places that are safe for them to experience the difference in the way that cars function under these conditions. It may not be relaxing, but they really need the experience.