October 20th through October 26th is designated National Teen Driver Safety Week. Those with actual teen drivers could correctly state that every week is Safe Teen Driver Safety week. Very little compares to letting your young driver get behind the wheel as you surrender control of your three thousand pound destroyer on wheel – it can be agonizing to slide over to the passenger seat and let your teen take command. More unsettling is the first time you let them fly solo. Before you get to the tumultuous point, there is plenty of groundwork to cover, for both your teen’s safety, as well as your parental sanity.
Practice, practice, practice.
New drivers get a modicum of time behind the wheel with driving instructors. In reality, this is seldom enough time. New drivers need exposure to varied driving conditions: No traffic, heavy traffic, side streets, highways, freeways, residential areas, shopping areas, day time driving, night driving. Honestly they also need to be exposed to a bit of distracted driving – so that they can learn to recognize it, and learn how to mitigate against it. So the more opportunity a young driver has to get behind the wheel, the better.
A recent survey found that 75 percent of serious teen crashes were due to a critical driver error: Three common errors accounting for almost half of all serious crashes:
- Driving too fast for road conditions
- Being distracted
- Failing to detect a hazard
The 2013 Teen Driver Safety Week theme is: “It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving.”
Important techniques/lessons parents can give their teen drivers
- Speed management – Following the speed limit, knowing when to adjust speed in congested and residential areas, driving in inclement weather, and on poorly lit roads.
- Recognizing and avoiding distractions –Limiting the number of peer passengers, a no cell phone or electronic device rule, and lowering radio volume.
- Scanning for hazards – Observing conditions far ahead of the vehicle and side-to-side so that there is ample warning to react and avoid a potential crash.