If you have a teenager on the road or one about to be you have certainly read the statistics about how much more prevalent it is for teenagers to be involved in an accident. In fact teenagers get into accidents at the rate of 4 times as often as adults. Most people blame this on speed or other reckless driving but research does not necessarily agree with that theory.
In a study conducted it showed that out of 800 accidents involving teenagers that almost 2/3 were not related to bad driving behavior but instead from failing to scan the road, misjudging driving conditions and being distracted.
So now that you know why most teenagers get into wrecks it is important to understand how you can better prepare your teenager for the road.
What is scanning the road?
Scanning the road is a skill that most experienced drivers naturally have but do not necessarily teach to their teenagers. Scanning the road simply means being aware of what is going on around you. Most teenagers’ eyes are glued straight ahead but when driving to do it safely you also need to know what’s next to you, what’s behind you and also be anticipating other driver’s moves. This is the area teens fail in.
One of the ways you can help them be more aware when driving is to ask questions about what is going on around them. What color shirt is that guy wearing on the sidewalk? What color is the car behind you? Questions like this start to get your teenagers aware of their surroundings and give them a comfort level to check these things out while they are driving.
Teaching your teen to drive in bad weather.
When teenagers are just beginning to drive most parents have them avoid driving in bad weather. While most parents do this to protect their kids and do not believe they are ready to drive in hazardous conditions the reality is if you do not teach them to do so eventually they will be driving in those conditions with no experience and no supervision. So use bad weather days as an opportunity to teach your kids how to drive in bad weather so when they are eventually on their own you know they have the skill set to navigate the road in inclement weather.
Many times teenager do not think the car amounts to much more than two pedals and a wheel. As experienced drivers we know there is much more to it than that. So when you have your teenager out talk through what you are doing so they really understand everything that is going on when you are behind the wheel. Say things such as: “I am adjusting my mirrors” or “I need to check my blind spot to see if I can get over safely.” Narrating your driving gives your teenagers way more information which will help them be better drivers.
Practice good habits.
If you want your teens to avoid things like texting in the car then you have to be a good example. Do not exhibit behavior that you feel is unsafe if you do your teen is much more likely to think it is ok regardless of what you have said to them. Always wear your safety belt as well.
Teaching your kids these skills can save lives. It could save their life or someone else’s not to mention a whole lot of auto repair bills. So be aware, push your kids into situations that seem dangerous to monitor and teach them and make sure you are really communicating all the steps to driving which contrary to your teenager’s belief require more than turning over the ignition and turning up the radio.