If you are a parent of a teenager in New Orleans, you may not realize that teenage children typically copy any bad habits their parents exhibit while driving. It is exhilarating when your teens get their first-level licenses that allow them to take their cars out onto the busy highways. However, nothing can replace driving experience and the guidance of a responsible parent who has frequent discussions about safe driving to keep the teens aware of the dangers.
The typical causes of accidents that injure or kill teenagers are sensible starting points. If your teens have the “been there, done that” attitude, do not give up. Unless they have landed in a hospital after an injury in an accident caused by teenagers, or worse still, lost a friend who died in such an accident, they cannot say, “been there.”
Distractions are any activities that take a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel or mind and focus to things other than driving. Although cell phones are known distractions, passengers, eating and drinking, adjusting music or GPS settings, and many other activities can distract drivers.
As an example, the time it takes to read or send a text message typically takes the driver’s eyes off the road ahead for five seconds. If one drives at a speed of 55 mph, in 5 seconds, he or she can travel the length of a football field. Imagine driving that distance blindfolded because that is how long a cell phone distraction can last.
Peer pressure is likely the biggest enemy when it comes to drinking and driving. Even if teens know the danger, they might give in to peers who want them to drive after drinking alcohol or be passengers of an impaired driver. Encourage your children to be brave enough to refuse. Soon, your teens might be the responsible peers who encourage others in a positive, instead of a negative, way.
After dark, and particularly the hours between midnight and 6 a.m., are the most dangerous times to drive. Set curfews to limit night driving, and be strict about it. You could make a point of bringing to their attention any news reports of fatal nighttime accidents.
Help your teens understand that fewer cars on the roads does not mean they can drive faster. Choose somewhere safe to demonstrate to them the distance necessary to come to a halt and react to emergencies while driving the typically posted speed limit compared to driving at higher speeds.
Seat belt use
Buckling up might be the last thing on your teenagers’ minds. However, there is proof that seat belts save lives. You could also demonstrate the risks by using examples of crash victims who did not wear their seat belts.
Last but equally important is that they, and you, might be held liable in a civil lawsuit if they are found to be the negligent parties in car accidents in New Orleans.