We all remember how we were when we were teenagers. The sky’s the limit, especially when it comes to being able to drive yourself to places. Safety wasn’t always our first priority when it came to driving. However, that’s exactly why you should give your teenage child all the safety resources, skills, and tips you can to help them prioritize keeping themselves and their passengers safe.
As personal injury attorneys, we have represented far too many teenagers whose lives are forever changed by simple driving mistakes. We have also represented too many families whose teenagers lost their lives due to easily preventable decisions made by inexperienced or inattentive drivers. We know how heart wrenching it is to lose a child or watch their future diminished forever, but we also know that there are strategies all parents can use with their children to help make them better drivers.
First, if you can, take your child to a driving school that has a strong educational program. Many local high schools offer these classes, however parents are usually able to find other drivers programs which can address any areas of concern they have with regard to their child’s driving. Even if your child has already taken a driver’s education course, these supplemental courses can be very valuable and help strengthen specific skills such as driving in inclement weather or defensive driving.
Next, share with your child any stories from your driving experiences that can demonstrate how dangerous it is to not pay attention behind the wheel. Even better if they are from when you were learning how to drive! Stories about accidents or near misses, when paired with extensive discussion about what you did wrong or could have done better to avoid the situation, have powerful sticking power and will linger with them long after they have gotten their license.
Cell phone use while driving is now one of the leading causes of accidents for youth. Texting while driving and calling while driving are absolutely distractions that can take your child’s attention away from where it needs to be. Talk with your child about how no call or text is too important to take, and consider having them sign a contract agreeing not to text or call while driving under penalty of grounding, allowance-docking, or other discipline.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use some scare tactics. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control maintains data on how many teenagers are killed in auto accidents, and you can use this as a starting point to talk with your teenager about the deadly risks of distracted or unsafe driving. Further, consider watching YouTube videos together where friends and family talk about the impact the loss of a teenager in their life to a car accident had on them. These videos often show stunning pictures of crumpled cars and sometimes even injured survivors to really hammer home how important safe driving practices are.
If your teenage child was injured in an auto accident, we can help. We know how severe these kinds of injuries can be, and our experienced attorneys at J&Y Law are ready to fight for you and the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.