Like any other teen, I want to drive. I really want to drive myself. I want to have freedom. But I want to do itsafely. There’s no point in using your freedom if you use it dangerously. The leading cause of death for teens is accidents. I know how stupid it is to get distracted while driving but there are a lot of little things that I don’t know that are also dangerous. Because I’m an inexperienced driver, there’s no way I could know all the little things that are so dangerous. That’s why parents need to teach their teen drivers how to drive safely.
The CDC has a program that recommends parents on what to do. I think that they have really good ideas. Here are their ideas.
- Extend your teen’s supervised driving period. Practice driving as often as you can with your teen. The more experience he or she has behind the wheel, the safer they’ll drive.
- Set the rules of the road to reduce the chance of injury or death: 1) Make sure your teen always wears a seat belt.?2) Limit your teen’s nighttime driving.?3) Restrict the number of teen passengers allowed in the car.?4) Prohibit cell phones and texting while driving.
- Enforce your rules of the road with a parent-teen driving agreement. Work with your teen to draft and sign the agreement. Include clearly written rules, as well as consequences for breaking the rules.
- Set a good example behind the wheel. Kids learn about road safety from a young age. Don’t wait until your teen is old enough to drive to start modeling good driving behaviors.
Concerned about teen driving? Check out the non-profit Street Survival (www.streetsurvival.org) It is designed to go beyond the typical new driver's ed program. The program teaches students to avoid accidents by learning situational awareness, thinking & looking ahead. We are unique in that it offers students instruction in their own cars so that they learn the limitations of their 'daily drivers', whether it’s a new Accord or the hand-me–down Volvo. The schools are run by the BMW Car Club of America, the Sports Car Club of America & other clubs.. We will do 100 schools this year.
The schools are held in a large parking lot, they are 1 day, the cost is $75. The instructor to student ratio is 2:1.
The day is a mixture of classroom & in-car exercises with a coach in the car at all times. The exercises are based on real world scenarios. Skid control on a wet skid pad; accident avoidance maneuvers; breaking / ABS exercises, a slalom course. In the classroom they learn proper seating position & hand positions, mirror placement, the theories of weight transfer, the use of long distance vision. We talk about the challenges of distractions to the driver, be it the I-pods or cell phones, texting or just the simple cause of too many teens in the car. Where possible we stage a semi truck & park cars around it to simulate highway driving. Then they get into the cab & see how many of the cars are not visible. We explode an air bag to reinforce what they learn in class about hand placement.
Most of us are aware of the carnage that occurs on our highways & good driver education will help reduce accidents. The goal of the Street Survival® program will help make our teen’s safer drivers & our roads a safer place to be for ALL of us.
Bill Wade, National Program Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
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