It’s every parent’s worst nightmare- you’re sitting at home and the phone rings. On the other end of the line is a police officer phoning to tell you that your teenager has been in a horrible car crash and is in the hospital or worst of all, has died. There is not a parent out there who would do everything in their power to avoid this situation, and yet teenagers as a demographic are one of the most dangerous groups of drivers on the road. This is due to combination of factors, including the fact that teenagers are new drivers with very little experience behind the wheel. They’ve likely never had to deal with the variety of road conditions and driving situations that experience drivers have dealt with. This can be anything from driving in the rain at night to what to do if an animal darts out unexpectedly into the road. And perhaps the most dangerous factor is that the majority of teens think that they are invincible and will never get into a car accident. They do not truly grasp the danger and responsibility of being behind the wheel, and in fact they feel a surge of power and freedom when they are driving. For a teen, speed can equal freedom, so stepping on the gas and gunning their car around a curve feels exciting and fun instead of dangerous and risky.
What Can Parents Do?
Most parents feel powerless to control their teenager once he or she is behind the wheel. After all, they are out there driving on the roads without you, so is there really anything you can do to prevent your teenager from getting into an accident? While no parent has complete control of their kids, there are steps you can take to help ensure that your teen is making good decisions and being safe on the road.
- Talk to your kids– many parents underestimate the impact that a good talk can have. Make sure that you teen understands that driving is a privilege, not a right, and that if they abuse that privilege then it will be taken away. Make sure to lay out your expectations for what is and is not acceptable in the car. Certainly rules such as not drinking alcohol and driving are a given, but what about using their phone in the car? What happens if they get a speeding ticket? Are they allowed to drive anywhere they want at any time or are there limits and rules? You as the parent need to make these decision upfront and then make sure that your child clearly understands the boundaries.
- Interceptor devices– if you suspect that your teen is drinking and driving you can install a device that requires a person to breath into it before the car will start (yes, it is effectively a breathalyzer test). This may seem like a drastic measure, but if your kid really isn’t drinking and driving then it shouldn’t really matter.
- GPS track your kids– not sure if your teen is really going where he says he’s going? GPS comes standards in most phones so now you can track your teen. Many of the phone companies now offer services for tracking phones, so you can know where your teen is at all times. If you don’t want your child to know they’re being tracked, there are devices that you can discreetly install in the car itself. They’ll never know how you discovered that they went to the big party Friday night that they swore they weren’t going to!
- Limit their speed– speed is one of the biggest factors in determining an accident, so if you can slow your teen down then you can help to prevent an accident or at least mitigate the damage. Some car manufacturers, like Ford, are making keys that will set a top speed on a car to a maximum of 80 mph. It will also sound alerts as soon as the vehicle hits 45 mph.
- Limit the volume on the radio– Ford and other companies are also implementing technology into the keys that will limit the radio volume to a max of 44% of the systems’ capacity. That’s good news as your teen won’t be able to blast music so loud that they forget that they’re driving or are unable to hear important sounds outside like a fire engine alarm.David Greenberg is a leading personal injury attorney located in Los Angeles, California. He knows the dangers of reckless driving and wants to help parents prevent their children from getting into a car accident whenever possible.
Author Bio: David Greenberg is a leading car accident lawyer located in Los Angeles, California. He knows the dangers of reckless driving and wants to help parents prevent their children from getting into a car accident whenever possible.