In 2020, 2,738 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19 died in car crashes. While this is a huge 69% decrease since 1975, deaths are up 14% since 2019. With deaths on the upswing, it's important that parents implement safety rules for their teen drivers. Try enforcing these six rules on your teen to keep them safe behind the wheel all year long.
Six Behind-the-Wheel Teen Safety Tips
Teenage drivers have a lot on their minds. However, their number one focus may not be on the road. These six tips will keep them focused, alert, and safe.
1. Put Away the Cell Phone
Teenagers stare at their cell phones seemingly 24/7, whether they're texting their friends or watching the latest trends on TikTok. However, they need to know it's not okay to use their phones while behind the wheel — this is distracted driving. If your teen doesn't put away their phone, you can install apps on their phone that locks the phone while driving.
Don't let your teen become a distracted driving death — there were 3,142 in 2020 alone.
2. Follow the Speed Limit
Next to distracted driving, speeding is the second biggest issue that teen drivers face. Thirty-one percent of the fatal accidents in 2020 were due to speeding. If you have a son, they are more likely to speed than a teenage daughter. Teach your teens to obey the speed limit and be a good role model while you are behind the wheel yourself.
3. No Passengers Allowed
There is a reason why many states have license restrictions about who teenage drivers can have in their cars with them. Most states only allow newer drivers to drive with a family member or, at best, a single friend. The reason behind this is that having a car filled with other teenagers is just asking for distractions. Even if your state allows your teen driver to have multiple passengers, set a passenger limit for their own safety.
4. Always Buckle Up
While it is a habit for most, there are still times when people can forget to buckle up, especially new drivers. Just remind your teen that they should always make sure to buckle their seat belt before they start their car.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
The CDC recommends that teenagers get at least 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Teens who don't get enough sleep are more susceptible to health problems, poor mental health, and issues staying focused. If a lapse of focus occurs in a teen while behind the wheel, the results could be deadly. Teach your teen to pull over immediately if they experience symptoms of drowsy driving like frequent yawning, eyes starting to close, or drifting between lanes.
6. Don't Drink and Drive
Teens should never get behind the wheel with any alcohol in their system. Not only is it illegal to drink at their age, but their minimal driving experience combined with alcohol is a deadly equation. While a teen may feel like they need to sneak home if they were at a party, tell them they can always call you for a ride. Not only can they lose their license and face hefty fines, but they risk losing their life.
Keep Your Teen's Focus on the Road
Try implementing these six simple rules on your teen to make them safer behind the wheel. Most of them are common sense, so they shouldn't be too hard to implement. Another way to keep your teen driver safe is by signing them up for a driver's ed class at DriversEd.com. They'll learn many additional ways to stay safe behind the wheel, all from the convenience of their phone or laptop.