Raising a teenager can be nerve-wracking, especially when your child is about to get a driver’s license. Teaching your teen the basics of driving while riding shotgun can lead to many white-knuckle moments when you don’t know if you’ll survive.
Driving is indeed deadly. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of death among American teens. As a parent, it is up to you to help your son or daughter drive in a safe manner to avoid becoming a statistic. Here are 10 things to teach your teen driver so that they stay safe while navigating the often treacherous roadways.
1. Know your vehicle.
Your child should know the basics of operating the vehicle. Each car is different, so make sure your teen is not only familiar with the brake and accelerator, but also knows how to switch gears, turn on headlights and windshield wipers, and operate the horn. Your child should know how to adjust mirrors and the seat as well. Some vehicles handle differently from others and others have more horsepower, so your child should get a feel for the vehicle and get comfortable with its operation.
2. Check for blind spots.
Many new drivers have a habit of looking straight ahead and not seeing what’s around them. They need to learn to scan the road around them in all directions. They should be able to use their mirrors to see what is behind them and at the left and right sides of the vehicle. Your child should also be able to tell when he or she is driving in the blind spot of another vehicle, such as a semi truck. This knowledge will keep your teen safe and avoid serious accidents.
3. Stay focused.
Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents. It killed 3,477 people in 2015. Texting is common among teens and is the most dangerous distraction. However, other distractions such as eating, applying makeup, talking to passengers and fiddling with the radio can also lead to deadly accidents. If your teen didn’t see the person on the bicycle because she was too busy playing with her phone, she could face serious consequences. Teach your teen to keep his or her phone out of reach while driving and to keep eyes on the road at all times.
4. Keep your hands in the right position.
In the past, 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock were the preferred hand positions. That has since changed. Your teen should keep both hands on the wheel, at the 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions. This position has two main benefits. It prevents your thumbs from breaking should your airbag deploy in an accident. Plus, it offers greater control of the vehicle with minimal exertion.
5. Control speed.
Speed is one of the main factors in car accidents. It’s important that your teen knows to follow the posted speed limits and adjust speed according to road conditions. For example, your teen should learn to slow down when negotiating curves and adjust speed based on weather conditions. It may be necessary to go under the speed limit when there is ice, snow and rain. On the other hand, going too slow can cause accidents as well, so your teen needs to find a safe speed and stick with it.
6. Share the road.
Your teen isn’t the only person on the roadway. He or she needs to understand that there will be other motorists, as well as motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Driving can be challenging because you have so many things to look out for. You should teach your child to constantly scan the road for any of these hazards. Even though bicyclists and pedestrians have to follow the rules of the road, sometimes they don’t. Motorists have a duty to keep themselves and others safe on the roadways. Teach your child to predict the actions of others on the road and drive in a safe manner.
7. Be confident.
As your teen gains experience behind the wheel, make driving more challenging. Don’t play it safe. Have your teen drive on various roads in a variety of weather conditions. Teach them how to drive on a highway in traffic. Take them into residential areas as well as country roads. These experiences help your teen gain the confidence he or she needs to become a good driver.
8. Deal with hazards in the road.
At some point, your teen will face obstacles in the road, whether it be a small animal, fallen tree or broken-down car. You want to teach your teen to avoid swerving and causing a large crash. To be sure, passing over a small obstacle may not lead to any serious issue. For larger obstacles, teach your teen to look for exit points on the sides of the road.
9. Practice skids.
Extreme weather conditions and debris on the road can cause a car to skid. It’s helpful to teach your child how to control your car should it skid. Experts recommend teaching your teen to do donuts in a parking lot. To be clear, by teaching your teen to turn abruptly while accelerating, your teen will see skidding in action in a controlled environment and be prepared for an emergency.
10. Timing is everything.
A large part of driving is doing things at the right time. This applies to situations such as merging, passing and crossing intersections. There will be gaps in traffic, and your teen will need to be able to make good judgment calls as to whether or not he or she can merge, make a turn, pass a vehicle or enter an intersection during this gap. Help your teen make good decisions by saying “yes” or “no” during gaps. In time, he or she will learn the best time to go.
Seek Advice From a Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney
Even the best drivers can end up in an accident, and newer drivers are at high risk due to inexperience. If your crash was caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s important that you understand your legal rights.
A car accident can cause injuries and other damages. Make sure you obtain the compensation you deserve by getting help from the Las Vegas car accident attorneys at the Ladah Law Firm. Contact our firm today at 702-252-0055 for more information.