Since this week is National Teen Driver Safety Week, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), here are five tips that parents and teens can review before teens get behind the wheel:
- do not use cell phones
- buckle up
- stay within the speed limit
- no extra passengers
- no alcohol
Also, parents should make sure the teen driver has a reliable vehicle—midsize sedans with smaller engines are among safest choices for teens.
A few more reminders for teen driving safety include:
- Limit night driving. Young drivers are twice as likely to be in a fatal car crash at night, the NHTSA reports.
- Obey speed limits. New teen drivers should practice during the day first, then in changing weather conditions, and lastly, at night.
- Buckle up. Half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
- Turn on vehicle headlights or daytime running lights.
- No extra passengers for at least 6 months, especially for new teen drivers. One peer passenger, or sibling, increases the chance of a fatal crash by 44%, the NHTSA says.
- Parents need to be good driving role models because they are the most important influence on their teens’ driving habits. Just 30 minutes a week of riding with your teen driver also makes a big difference.
- Download free teen driver safety information from online resources like driveithome.org; NHTSA; the National Safety Council; auto insurance providers; automakers’ sites; and state DMV agencies.
- Distraction—put away cell phones; no hands-free calls or texting; avoid changing radio/MP3 player selection; no eating, drinking, or pets.
- Parents and teens can study online defensive driving strategies together.
- Invest in a DMV-approved safe-driving course for teen drivers.
- Find out about GPS-enabled tracking devices for monitoring teen drivers.