As the week begins for National Teen Driver Safety week, it is important for parents and other adults to discuss safe driving with the teenagers in our lives. Driving is a huge rite of passage for many young people and gives them a great sense of freedom. But with this freedom comes great responsibility.
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, car accidents happen every 60 seconds. In fact, automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds and research shows that more than half of teens who die in crashes were not wearing a seatbelt. (1)
To protect our young patients as they hit the open road, here are some tips to discuss with them during Teen Driver Safety Week.
- Wear a seat belt. Whether driving a car or as a passenger, a seat belt can save a life by keeping bodies from being thrown from a car during a crash or serious injury from in-car impacts.
- Put down the cell phone. Teens love to multi-task using their phones to call, text and play music, but all of these tasks are distractions from the road. Set up a plan with your teen to put the cell phone in a console or the glove compartment when driving. Calls can be taken in most new vehicles through bluetooth connections, but even these short conversations can be a distraction to an inexperienced driver. No phone call is worth a life and can easily wait until the car is parked.
- Set rules on distractions. Cell phones are not the only thing that distract young drivers. Alcohol should never be in a vehicle. Number of passengers should be limited — a carload of loud teenagers would distract any one. Keep music levels lower so warning signs such as sirens and horns can be heard.
- Parents stay involved. Drive with your teenager. Enroll them in a driving safety program. Check with your insurance on programs which may provide discounts on policy premiums. And most importantly, be a good role model when you drive by practicing these safety tips.
- Finally, VisionFirst would add to make sure your teen has good vision. Many times your teen will not say or may not even realize they are not seeing their best. When they take their drivers test they have to complete a quick 30-second eye test, but a comprehensive eye exam is needed to measure accurate vision, check peripheral vision and to detect any vision concerns.
Driving can be scary, but with the proper training, safe driving plans in place and good vision, your teen will enjoy a healthy driving career for years to come. If your teen is a new driver or getting ready to sit behind the wheel, make sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at one of VisionFirst’s 16 locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Click here to schedule an appointment.