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Teach Your Teens Good Driving Habits For Their Safety And Your Peace of Mind

Young drivers are often excited to get on the road and mistakenly believe they are invincible. Teens require specific and detailed instruction to be able to sufficiently process the risks of driving and to be able to respond correctly to hazardous situations when they occur. Here are six tips to keep your teens safe on the road from day one.

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Defensive Driving

Teach teens to always be on the lookout for what the other driver might do. Teach them to anticipate mistakes and failures of other drivers, and to pay attention and make good decisions. They should not assume a car will stop, turn, slow down or even speed up when expected. It is basically the old mantra of learning to expect the unexpected and adjusting their behavior ahead of time to avoid collisions.

Automobile Maintenance and Safety

Many states have annual vehicle safety inspections. Still, things can mechanically go wrong in between inspections. Teach teens to report any odd vehicle sounds or strange mechanical or electrical behavior of vehicles. This can prevent a catastrophic failure of things such as engines, transmissions or tires that can result in accidents. Teach them to do a walk around to look for problems or hazards before driving away.

Driving School

Enroll teens in a reputable driving school that teaches real driving skills such as obstacle and hazard avoidance maneuvers, as well as methods on how to drive in poor weather. Being able to learn and practice such driving skills in mock situations can save lives when faced with real situations later on.

Reality Versus Fantasy

For some teens the only driving skills they learn before actually getting behind the wheel the first time is video game driving. Hours spent at game consoles navigating virtual motor vehicles at blazing speeds with no real physical reality experience can be harmful to new drivers. Being able to accelerate, brake and steer real vehicles is far different than what happens in game environments. Teen drivers need to learn the real risks of what excessive speed and improper handling of a vehicle can do.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving should not be tolerated at all. This includes changing songs or stations on the stereo, texting or talking on cell phones while driving, and antics among friends along for the ride. Teen drivers should be taught how they are fully responsible for each life in the vehicle they are driving as well as the lives of those around them in other vehicles. Timestamps of calls and texting can be seen on cell phone bills. Driving privileges should be suspended any time the time stamps correspond with times teens are known to have been driving.

Impaired Driving

Impaired driving includes any medication, illegal drugs, alcohol and even tiredness. The responsibility to not drive under any impairment needs to be firmly established early. The best example is parents or guardians who do not ever drive while impaired. Attempting to drive during a heightened emotional state is also an impairment. Overreacting to what other drivers are doing (road rage) is also an impairment. Teaching teens to set everything else aside when behind the wheel can help establish the focus they need to always be safe drivers.

Parents and guardians are the best examples that teens have for how to drive. They have been tagging along on rides in vehicles for years. They have learned by observing their parents or guardians on what habits are acceptable or unacceptable while driving. Since it is far easier to learn a proper behavior than to unlearn a bad one, it may be good for some teachers of teen drivers to begin setting a better example now.

Informational credit to Valley Driving School.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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