Tag: teen driver
As a driver, you know there are a ton of distractions that can take your eyes and mind away from the road. Your teen may be aware of these distractions, but may not know how serious they can affect their driving.
Drivers under 20 are at the highest risk of distracted driving accidents, largely thanks to phones. Cell phone users are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident. In 2017, 100,687 crashes happened on Texas roads due to distracted driving.
One of the most important conversations you can have with your teen is about safe driving. Here are a few ways to positively encourage them to do so.
1. Lead by example
Kids learn behavior from their role models. They aren’t likely to stay off their phone behind the wheel if they see you on your phone behind the wheel. The earlier you can set an example, the better. If your teen has often seen you on your phone while driving already, tell them that you want to practice safer driving with them.
You can have them encourage you to stay off your phone or engage in other distracting behaviors while you drive, as you’ll do the same for them.
2. Give them the tools to succeed
There are several apps that can help reduce your teen’s distractions. If your teen uses their phone for music or Bluetooth calling, they probably won’t want to put it away completely. Instead, help them set up an app to lock certain features or allow hands-free control.
Keeping your teen’s phone on a mount also helps them keep their eyes close to the road and minimizes the time their hands are off the wheel should they use it.
This isn’t the perfect solution, but especially as we are increasingly depending on constant-communication, your teen may be less inclined to turn off and stow their phone. But this way, you can allow them to use it in a much safer manner.
3. Peer influence
Peer influence also plays a part in distracted driving. Others in the car can be a positive or negative influence on the driver. A 2015 AT&T study showed that 85% of participants would download an app to block their phone notifications if one of their “top 5” closest communicators asked them to. Many drivers are receptive to those they care about – if only those people asked them to change their behavior.
Talk to your teen and their friends about how they engage with one another. Encourage them to support one another to make safe driving habits. It’s also important to talk to them about being aware of their behavior in the car to support safe driving.
4. Positive reinforcement
New drivers hear a lot of negative comments concerning what they’re doing wrong. While this is often vital, they also need to hear positive reinforcement of their safe driving skills.
Both on and off the road, don’t be afraid to compliment your teen on something they did well. It could be the way they maintained the speed limit. Or how they told their friend to text them when they get home safely.
Even if they don’t seem receptive, small encouragements can help them see safe driving as an asset instead of an annoyance.
Some safe driving apps, like San Antonio-based Safe 2 Save, also reward you for staying off your phone, which also positively reinforces attentive driving. You can encourage them to earn rewards at local businesses, to give your teen incentive to stay off their phone.
You can even do it as a family and compete to see who can get the most safe-driving rewards. Again, your teen will have their good habits positively reinforced.
5. Practice practice practice
This is obvious, but for your teen to get better at driving, they need to spend more time on the road. Offer to let them drive if it’s just the two of you, and take them out to practice in heavier traffic. Often, teens don’t encounter difficult driving situations until they’re on their own. Having them encounter difficult driving situations with you there can help them in the long run.
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You love your car. You’ve been taking good care of it for years, but after the last accident, you’re not sure how much more repair you’re willing to pour into it. But buying a new is also a huge financial commitment. Here are a few considerations as to whether or not you want to commit to a new vehicle.
Obviously, newer cars are safer. They have the latest technology to keep you and your vehicle out of harm’s way. If your car is more than 5 years old, compare the safety features of your car to newer vehicles. Some things can be added on to your current vehicle, but others cannot. Features like automatic emergency braking, backup cameras, and blind-spot monitoring are almost standard safety now. If there’s a serious gap in the safety of your car and newer vehicles, it’s probably time to buy a new one.
Also, if you are looking for your teen driver, safer cars are the way to go. Anything that helps an inexperienced driver navigate the road will benefit them.
If you find yourself at the repair shop often, you may feel like your car is costing you more than it’s worth. However, the cost of a new car is much more burdensome. Not only would you probably be paying more in monthly payments, but you’ll also pay more in insurance and registration fees.
A new car loses about 20 percent of its value in a year. This can leave you “upside down” in payments before long: You’ll owe more than what it’s worth. While this is a normal part of getting a new car, you’ll likely be stuck with it when this happens – for better or worse.
However, if your current vehicle is a gas guzzler you’ll likely save money on fuel by switching to something more efficient. This would be a great reason to trade in your vehicle.
Peace of mind
Sometimes the worry of an old car breaking down is not worth holding out to buy a new one. Repairing an old problem doesn’t guarantee another major problem won’t happen sooner than later.
You may just be fed up with an ongoing problem in your vehicle: An annoying engine noise, a broken radio, worn upholstery…there is a multitude of everyday annoyances and worries getting a new car can fix. Constant trips to the repair shop are stressful and can leave you several days without your vehicle.
Buying new comes with the peace of mind that you’ll probably not be in the shop for a repair. And if you do, you’ll probably have a warranty to cover it for several years to come.
If you’ve had a car a long time, you may have a sentimental attachment to it. Saying goodbye can feel like abandoning an old friend. While this isn’t necessarily a big reason to keep the vehicle, it may influence a decision to keep your old car. Think about it this way: Sentimental value makes the car more valuable to you than it would to anyone else.
Making a decision
While multiple factors have to be considered in your decision, there are a few instances we’d recommend buying new:
- Your car problems frequently make you late for work or cause you to break down in a potentially dangerous location.
- You have a major repair that will cost more than half the value of your car.
- You already want to get a new car and your repair shop informs you of costly work needing to be done (but be transparent about what needs to be done when you go to sell).
- You have a teen driver and the car in question has needed frequent repairs – it’s best to get them a car with a warranty and current safety features.
No parent wants their teen to have an accident and wind up searching for an auto body shop. Driving for the first time can come with mixed emotions for any teen. They can be extremely excited, nervous, or overwhelmed. Parents can also feel similar emotions as they teach a teen safe driving.
There are a few ways to demonstrate good driver responsibility to your teen.
Drive by example
AAA recently surveyed driving instructors. According to the survey, parents today do not prepare their teen drivers as well as parents did a decade ago. The instructors reported parents setting bad examples through their own driving behaviors. Research shows that young drivers will mimic the driving of parents and other family members.
Remember when your child gets closer to learning how to drive to be aware of how you operate a vehicle. Re-familiarize yourself with traffic and safety rules. Reduce behaviors you wouldn’t want your teen driver to do. This includes reducing distractions like cell phone use and obeying the speed limit.
Having a soon-to-be driver in your car can help you get back in the practice of responsible driving.
Practice, practice, practice
As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” The more experience that your teen can get behind the wheel will help your new driver respond better to a potential accident. It is better to expose them to different driving situations with you in the car next to them so they can learn from you can put your guidance into practice in the future.
Young drivers often do not get enough practice in inclimate weather, night driving, and heavy traffic – situations where they’re most likely to get into a crash.
Encouragement is important
Every parent knows that praise is helpful when their teen is doing the right thing, especially when they are driving safely behind the wheel. Positive reinforcement of good driving can be encouraging and help your teen build driving confidence.
But encouragement in other ways is also important. Have discussions with your teen to let him or her know it is a good thing to speak up if they don’t feel safe driving or to also speak up with their peers about unsafe driving. Sometimes discussing what to do or say in social situations can help your teen set boundaries (and a good example!) with other young drivers.
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