There comes a time in all parents' lives that they dread - their teenager getting behind the wheel. But, driving is a teenage rite of passage and one that most do safely when trained properly. The statistics are staggering, however. Half of all deaths of 13- to 19-year-olds happen due to a car crash with 16-year-olds having the most. There are ways that you can reinforce safety to your teenager, and that is by example. 1) Don't Talk on Your Phone Most teens do report to talking on their phone while driving, and guess what - an even higher percentage of parents do. You may think that your years behind the wheel make it okay but the truth is, kids do what they learn. Don't do it. Set the example for safety to your kids and they will be less likely to talk on the phone too. 2) Wear Your Seat Belt Not only should you wear your seat belt, you should also insist that everyone in your vehicle wears a seat belt. Studies show that teenagers who have parents who demonstrate this practice consistently are more likely to wear seat belts themselves. Seat belts do save lives. Minor fender benders can become death traps without a seat belt. 3) Never Drink and Drive Parents often set bad examples without even realizing it. Even having one or two glasses of wine or a couple of beers at dinner out, then driving the family home, is a bad example. Even if you're not legally intoxicated, your reaction time is still going to be lower, and frankly it's just a bad example. 4) Don't Speed Each mile per hour you or your teenager goes over the speed limit ups your risk of accident proportionally. Speed limits aren't made arbitrarily. They make them based on the rate of accidents that happen at certain speeds in certain conditions on certain roads. Follow the rules of the road - for yourself and as an example for your teenager. 5) Teaching Teens to Drive Most of the time a parent teaches their child to drive. Some schools have driver's education programs but due to how many students move through the school program, they're not going to learn as much as if you do it yourself. Or you hire someone to do it for you. Be committed to providing your child the number of hours required by law before getting their driver's license. This will help your child feel more confident and be a better driver. In a nutshell, it's important to be very careful driving. An automobile is a very dangerous weapon in the wrong hands. Don't drink, don't use a cell phone, and wait until experience is earned before adding passengers. Of course, don't speed and don't drink and drive and you'll be less likely to have an accident.
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