Safe Driver Resources for Kids and Teens

Teenagers are usually eager to get their driver's licenses and begin driving independently. Although this milestone is a common one, it is also a situation that demands careful preparation and stringent guidelines for safety. Parents can help create a safe driving experience for teenagers by providing adequate instruction about everything from car parts to changing a car tire. Supervision of the new drivers is also important. Many states have special laws in effect for teenage drivers to ensure that they acclimate to their new driving privileges and responsibilities.

Everyone can benefit from safe driving strategies. When drivers of all ages utilize defensive driving techniques such as obeying speed limits, avoiding distractions, and watching the road carefully, everyone stays safer. Defensive driving also helps in situations with aggressive drivers. Aggressive drivers may speed, take unnecessary risks, follow too closely, or drive erratically.

Children must ride in approved car seats for safe vehicle travel. The correct car seat for a child depends on the child's age and size. Infants should ride in a rear-facing car seat until 1 year of age. Children up to age 3 are safer riding in a rear-facing car seat than in a forward-facing car seat. A forward-facing car seat is suitable for children up to about 7 years of age. After this age, children can ride in a booster seat until they are big enough to have a seat belt fit around them correctly.

Children are often pedestrians in traffic while walking in their neighborhoods or to and from school. Parents should teach children pedestrian laws to ensure safety. These laws include crossing the street at crosswalks, following street signs, waiting for traffic before crossing, and wearing brightly colored clothing to ensure they are seen by motorists. Walking with a buddy is also a good safety guideline for children.

Bicycling is a common form of transportation for people of all ages. A bicycle may be a child's first mode of transportation. Adults often enjoy bicycling for exercise and to save money on gas and auto parts. When bicycling in traffic, cyclists must learn and follow traffic laws for safety. Bicyclists ride with traffic. Cyclists should also wear helmets to prevent serious injuries from accidents.

Fatal car accidents are the leading cause of deaths for people between the ages of 15 and 20. Male teenage drivers are involved in fatal car accidents more frequently than female teenagers. The summer months tend to be the most dangerous months for teenagers driving, with most accidents occurring in June and July. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are the most common days for teenage drivers to have accidents. It's a good idea to teach teenagers about how cars work, including how typical auto parts work, to help them be safer drivers.

Teenagers are at a higher risk for driving problems due to their immaturity and young age. The combination of these two factors and teenagers' inexperience makes it more likely that they will make mistakes behind the wheel. These mistakes put teens at a higher risk for serious accidents, injury, and even death from car accidents. Teens are also more likely to engage in distracting behaviors while driving, such as texting, talking on a cell phone, visiting with vehicle passengers, or adjusting the radio. Distractions can pose a significant risk for accidents for any age group, but especially inexperienced teenagers.

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