Parenting evolves as your child grows older, but it never gets easier. Instead, challenges shift from sleeping through the night to growing determination, teaching kindness to giving time management tips. If you have a teen in your home, you may be wondering how you can teach your child about staying safe while driving. The entire month of October is designated as Teen Driver Month, giving you the perfect opportunity to have some serious conversations about staying safe behind the wheel.

Ditch Distraction

Distracted driving, or participating in any activity that causes a driver to stop paying attention to driving, is especially problematic for students. Smart phones are enemy #1 for young drivers.  Thanks to smart phones, teens can be tempted to reply to a text message or scroll through a social media feed while at a stoplight. Unfortunately, distracted driving leads to thousands of deaths each year and even more injuries.  Distracted driving due to cell phones has been closely compared to driving while intoxicated.

To help your teen ditch the cell phone before starting the car, lead by example. Keep your phone in the glove compartment or trunk every time you get behind the wheel. If your child sees you doing it, they are more likely to do it when it is their turn to drive.

Beyond leading by example, have candid and truthful conversations with your teen. Talk about the scary statistics about distracted driving and be honest with your worries. Then, work together to develop a family plan or pledge to keep all distractions away from the driver’s seat.

Plan for Emergencies

Your teen driver needs to feel empowered and confident if an emergency situation arises while driving. Work together to make a bag of emergency supplies to keep in the car, and review what to do in different possible scenarios. Teach your teen how to safely change a tire and who to call if the Check Engine light goes off.

Finally, develop a plan for what to do if your teen is in an accident. Put emergency phone numbers in your child’s cell phone, and teach them when to call the police. Talk about insurance information and how to exchange it with other drivers.

As you educate your teen on driver safety all month long, be sure to update your own emergency contacts. If you don’t have an attorney at your fingertips, add O’Brien Law. We handle many personal injury cases from car crashes and have helped countless clients find the best outcome after serious injuries due to crashes.

Stay safe out there!