Fostering Safe Driving Habits for your Newly Licensed Teen

by TNyland 24. October 2018 06:00

LTI's Teen Driving Awareness Blog Series: Part Two

We all start off as an inexperienced driver. We believe drivers training and the hours we've put in with our parents has made us road-ready. But just like anything, going out in the field for the first time is nothing compared to your classroom setting.

The first 18 months after your teen gets their license is statistically the most dangerous. Within that 18-month period, new drivers are four times more likely to get into an accident when compared to adults. Teen youth in America are injured and/or killed every day due to inexperienced and distracted drivers and is the leading cause of death for teenagers: totaling eleven teen deaths a day in the United States. That is a number that is just too high.

Learning how to properly operate a vehicle is a skill that is developed over time. With age, you learn how to manage and minimize distractions that are taking place all around you, focusing on the road and vehicle you are operating. We know teens are not ready to have the same driving responsibilities that adults have, and as adults, we must provide and equip our teens with the information and tools they need to be successful out on the road.

While this week is dedicated to raising awareness and promoting safe driving behaviors for our teens, it isn't just about telling your teen why safe driving habits are important, it's about supporting your words with actions.

Why?

Your words are perceived more trustworthy when they are followed by actions that reflect and show your intention. Safe teen driving habits start with you.

Teens read or send text messages once a trip 26 times more often than their parents think they do. More than a quarter of teens read or send text messages at least once every time they drive versus the 1% of their parents who said their teen does this.

A study conducted by Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows a significant correlation between parent and teen distractions.

(the following is a written sample taken from the study)

"The sample of teens and parents from the same households (the dyad sample) showed a strong correlation between driving behaviors and attitudes within families. In general, parents who engage in distracting behaviors more frequently have teens who engage in distracting behaviors more frequently"

Children and Young Adults are intently watching what their parents do and don't do; slowly being imprinted on and nurtured for their future. What you do in front of your teen doesn't go unnoticed. The following statistics show just how impactful you can be as a parent on your driving teen.

  • If a teen thinks their parent(s) looks for something in the vehicle while driving, the teen is four times (4.1) more likely to also look for something while driving (compared to a teen who does not think their parent does this at all).
    • If a teen's parent reports looking for something in the vehicle while driving, the teen is two times (2.2) more likely to do the same (as compared to if the parent does not report this behavior at all)
  • If a teen thinks that their parent(s) eat or drink while driving, the teen is three times (3.4) more likely to do the same (compared to if the teen does not think their parent does this at all)
    • If a teens parent reports eating or drinking while driving, the teen is two times (2.2) more likely to do the same (as compared to if the parent does not report this behavior at all). (Read the full study and findings here)

So, what can you do?

Setting good driving examples and involving yourself in your teens driving habits from the beginning can lead to safer driving habits:

  • Learn about your states GDL laws
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of driving under the influence
  • Provide your teen with statistics and educate them on the dangers of distracted driving
  • Be their role model for safe driving behaviors

Furthermore, a study done from General Motors Foundation, found that when parents and teens discuss rules for driving and create a verbal or written agreement, teens are less likely to engage in risky driving behavior.

For example, the following graph shows teens who have rules for texting while driving compared to teens who do not:

Your actions are just as, and if not more important, than simply talking to your teen about safe driving habits. We look up to our parents, we eventually become some part of our parents, we need to remember that what we say and do doesn't go unnoticed by our children.

For more information regarding Teen Driving Awareness Week, check out these following websites:

Up next in our Teen Driving Awareness Week Blog Series:

  • We Know Texting and Driving is bad, So Why Do We Still Do It?

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In case you've missed any of the Blog Series, you can catch up here:

 

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