When your teenager is first learning how to drive, it can be a scary time for both you and your teen. Most states first allow teens to drive at age 16, and more crashes happen when 16-year-olds are behind the wheel than any other age group. It's important for young people to understand the important responsibility that driving is and how even one small mistake can end or forever change their lives and the lives of multiple others on the road. Prevent your teen from facing possible jail time, a lawsuit, consultations with personal injury attorneys, or even death by avoiding these driving mistakes.
Mistake #1: Texting While Driving
Too many teenagers are still texting and driving, and around a fifth of driving accidents are caused by distracted driving. Be sure to set ground rules for teen drivers where there is zero tolerance for texting while driving. No text message is worth risking it all. Since texting is illegal in most states, a teenager will receive a citation if caught texting while driving, and it's important to also communicate to your teen that they will receive further consequences at home if they text while they're driving.
Mistake #2: Driving After Drinking
Despite public awareness campaigns that have gone on for decades, drunk driving is still a huge problem among drivers of all ages, including teenagers. With celebrities like John Stamos and Lindsay Lohan being caught engaging in this bad behavior, it can seem almost normalized. However, teenagers need to know that it's not okay to get behind the wheel after drinking. Even a little bit of alcohol can impair judgment, and buzzed driving is drunk driving. Emphasize that teens should use a ride share app or call home when they have had a drink.
Mistake #3: Driving Without a License
According to U.S. News, teenagers who drive without a license are also more likely to get behind the wheel of a car when they are drinking or taking drugs. Aside from practicing with a permit under the supervision of you or a driver's education teacher, be sure that your teenager knows that absolutely no driving is allowed until they legally obtain a driver's license.
Mistake #4: Driving While Sleepy
Teenagers who drive while they are sleepy are putting themselves and others in danger. About 100,000 car accidents happen because of fatigued drivers each year. If your teenager needs transportation while driving, make sure that they have alternate methods, whether it's calling you, using a drive sharing app, or simply resting before they hit the road.
Finally, keep in mind that it is extremely important for parents to take an active role in their teenager's driving education. Set ground rules for permission to use any vehicle, and be sure to enforce the rules. At the same time, try to see things from your teen's point-of-view and allow them easy ways out of situations, whether they may be tempted to drink and drive. When teens know the importance of driving carefully with their full attention, they are more likely to be careful on the road.
If your teen does get in an accident, it's important to call a car accident attorney to try and figure out what happened and how much compensation you deserve, especially if it wasn't your teen's fault.