I’m sorry. Now that I have apologized for ruining your day, let me bring you down. I love summer, as illustrated by my recent article on not running back to school ads and ruining summer. As much as I love summer, the fine folks at Michelin just destroyed my love of summer by giving me this stat – Each year, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest 100 days for teen drivers and their passengers, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). Wow, thanks Michelin – what’s next, are you going to tell me Christmas is the most likely day for Dads to die of a heart attack?
As Parents, Let’s Take Our Heads Out of the Sand and Be Proactive
My first reaction when reading this stat was to destroy the email and rely on my lack of memory to quickly forget I ever read it. Then I realized I am a Dad and should probably be a little more proactive and see if there was a way to reduce the risk of teens getting into an accident. Luckily, Sarah Robinson — engineer, Michelin test-track driver and teacher of teens safe-driving skills has come up with some great tips to keep our teens safe. Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to kill the messenger.
Top 11 Ways to Keep Our Teens Safe Behind The Wheel This Summer
Here are 11 quick tips for teen drivers that can help keep them safe and let us parents worry a little less…
11. Situational awareness
To keep yourself out of danger, nothing is more effective than being aware of your surroundings.
Train your eyes to anticipate danger, focus as far ahead as you can see and use your peripheral vision to observe your immediate surroundings.
9. Stay focused
Distractions can result in fatal accidents. Parents should set rules limiting the number of passengers riding with a teenage driver. Using a cell phone, text messaging, changing the radio station or iPod tunes, or applying makeup should never be done while driving.
8. Speed and distance
Obey the speed limit, adjust your vehicle’s speed to match weather conditions and maintain a proper distance from the vehicle ahead of you.
7. Defensive-driving class
Practice is the best defense against accidents. A third-party instructor often can influence teens more effectively than the limitations of the typical parent–teen dynamic. Instructors are trained to teach teens car-control skills so they can avoid or minimize accidents.
6. Seating position
Proper seating position maximizes your ability to control your vehicle.
5. Set mirrors properly
Side mirrors can help maximize the view of the road, rather than reflecting the side of the car.
4. Steering position
For optimal control, hands should be placed at the three-o’clock and nine-o’clock positions on the steering wheel.
3. Tire pressure
Parents should teach their teenage drivers to check the pressure of all four tires once a month. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 33,000 injuries and 700 deaths occur every year due to underinflated tires.
2. Safety equipment
Prepare the vehicle with the necessary safety equipment and an emergency kit. Cars equipped with stability-control systems, antilock-braking system and airbags help reduce accidents as well as the severity of injuries if an accident occurs.
1. Parents’ role
Parents can play a significant role in teaching their teenage drivers basic safety. First, they should be a good role model to their children when they are in the driver’s seat. Next, they should establish safe-driving rules and enforce them. They also should enroll young drivers in defensive-driving courses. Finally, parents should explain the responsibilities and dangers of handling a 3,000-plus-pound vehicle.
I Now Return You To Your Carefree Summer
Once again, I apologize for being such a downer on the carefree days of summer. I wouldn’t bring you down if I didn’t think this was such an important topic. So, go over the above tips with your teen and then get back to enjoying summer.