Child Safety: Teaching your teen to drive
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at 10:04PM
Dr. Barry in Safety Alert, child safety, teen driving

Though I still have quite a few years before I have to worry about teaching a teenager to drive, I’m sure the time will be here before I know it…and the thought is already anxiety provoking! I had the privilege to attend a talk recently about teen driving by Dr. Dennis Durbin, Director of the Center for Injury Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). This talk really hit home with me, as I realized how important it is that we take the time as parents to teach our children to drive as safely as possible.

First of all, it’s important to know that motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death among adolescents.  It is also true that the greatest lifetime risk of a crash occurs in the first 6 months of driving. Gulp. How will we ever let our teens behind the wheel?

Start by being a good role model for your teen, taking the time to practice with them, and setting appropriate limits for driving. Studies have shown that parents who set rules and pay attention to their teen’s activities lower their crash risk by half. Those teens are also:

Extensive studies have been able to identify that 75% of crashes among adolescents are due to three critical errors:

  1. Not scanning to detect and respond to hazards (this takes time and experience to understand what to look for and how to respond)
  2. Going too fast for road conditions
  3. Distracted by something inside or outside vehicle (cell phones!) 

 So, what can you do as a parent to help teach your teen to be a safe driver?

Check out CHOP’s for more information (all above statistics are from this site). Dr. Durbin and his team have done a tremendous job gathering this data and helping to educate everyone on how to educate teens on driving in the best way possible. For those in North Carolina, also check out the process to obtaining a driver’s license (it’s different in every state).

Safe travels, everyone!

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