Summer is just around the corner! It's almost time for beach getaways, out-of-town trips, and pool parties! But under all the summer fun is an unnoticed but real danger. Did you know that in the past five years alone, around eight teens aged 16-18 died every day from March to August? This tragic truth is backed by statistics. Given the trend, it's very likely that it will continue this year. It's easy to see why summer is the season of driving dangerously for teens. School is out, so many of them have much more time to be on the road. Though not all teens are irresponsible, there's no denying the fact that they aren't adults, so their sense of judgment is still a bit reckless. They aren't mature enough to make sound decisions all the time. This is where parents should come in and take responsibility. Your teenage kids still need guidance, and now is the time to make sure that you're there for them. Here's what you can do to make that happen:
Summer Teen Driving Tips
1) Get your kids to listen to you.
The best way to give guidance to your kids is to talk to them, but there's no assurance that they will listen to you. But whatever happens, don't give up on reaching out to your kids. Even after they brush you off, stand your ground as an authority figure. Avoid the temptation to get in a fight when they react emotionally. Stay calm and then listen to everything they have to say. This can help you build a relationship of trust and respect between you and your kids.
2) Set rules and give reasons for them.
Many parents reply with Because I say so! when kids ask Why? This kind of reasoning won't make kids follow rules. The best thing you can do is to set clear rules, explain why you have them, and what can happen when they're broken. This is especially important when you're talking about road safety. The consequences of reckless driving are serious (accidents, injuries and even death), which is why you need to put emphasis on them when giving advice to your kids. Don't overwhelm your kids with too many rules. Start with the basics, like these three that can save a lot of lives:
- Always wear seatbelts.
- Stay within speed limits.
- Avoid drinking and driving.
You can add more to these, but it's essential that your kids have a strong foundation to begin with.
3) Ease your kids into driving.
You don't have to buy your kids a car and let them drive off into the sunset as soon as they get their license. You have to make sure that they are responsible enough for privileges. Start with a car sharing schedule. It should have details on when they can take the car and where they can drive. This allows them to have access to a vehicle, but on a limited basis only. Gradually give more freedom as they get better in showing responsibility in their driving. You can also ask your kids to drop you off at work or drive the family to the mall. This move will show that you trust them. At the same time, you can observe their driving style. From there, you can decide if they're ready for their own car or if they still have lessons to learn.
4) Be a good example.
If you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. Teens, even in their rebellious stage, are strongly influenced by their parents' habits. Thus, the best way to teach your kids about responsible driving is by being responsible driver yourself.