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Parents Can Help to Change Dangerous Teen Driving Behavior

Steven R. Andrade Aug. 30, 2016

For parents with teenagers, the prospect of teaching your child to drive a car can be an anxiety-inducing one. Given that teen drivers are at greater risk of being involved in car accidents, it is important for parents to think carefully about safe driving habits for teen drivers. As parents, we can have a positive effect on our teen's behavior. According to a recent report from Safe Kids Worldwide, new research suggests that parents can make a significant difference when it comes to reducing their teen driver's dangerous behavior behind the wheel.

At Andrade Law Offices, we believe that one of the first steps to safer teen driving is getting parents involved in teaching their children defensive driving habits and modeling good driving behavior. We are committed to helping Southern California residents who have been injured in car accidents caused by negligent drivers. If you or someone you love recently sustain injuries in a traffic collision caused by another drive, let an experienced Santa Barbara car accident lawyer review the accident and explain your legal options. Contact Andrade Law Offices today to learn more about how we may assist.

How Parents Can Help with Safe Driving Habits for Teen Drivers

As the Safe Kids Worldwide report explains, a recent study conducted with General Motors Foundation emphasizes that teenage drivers often take serious risks when they drive, engaging in behaviors such as:

  • Texting;

  • Speeding;

  • Failing to wear a seat belt;

  • Driving with other teen passengers in the car;

  • Driving in the dark;

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The California Office of Traffic Safety makes clear that some of the most common distracted driving behaviors are illegal in Santa Barbara, including any handheld texting or talking on a cell phone. However, teen drivers continue to make serious and fatal judgment errors behind the wheel.

The Sake Kids Worldwide report highlights how “parents can play an important role in reducing this risky behavior by talking with their teens, formalizing—and enforcing—a family agreement about driving rules, and modeling good behavior.” In short, parents' behavior can make a difference in their teens' driving practices.

Teaching Your Kids Better Driving Habits

According to a Wall Street Journal article, car accident rates overall have been falling in the U.S., yet teen drivers crashes are not declining proportionally. As the article notes, many teens simply need more experience behind the wheel, and parents can help immensely when it comes to learning safe driving practices. According to research conducted at the Highway Safety Research Center, “teens continue making similar mistakes for several months after they start driving unsupervised,” suggesting that these drivers could use additional practice with parents.

What kinds of skills can parents impart that could help to reduce accidents? Citing the research from the Highway Safety Research Center, the Wall Street Journal article says that parents as experienced drivers can continue teaching their teen driver to be more alert to potentially dangerous situations and know to recognize them. Among the skills they can share are:

  • Helping recognize potential accident situations;

  • Avoiding potential road hazards;

  • Slowing at crosswalks or other areas frequented by pedestrians.

As the article points out, most parents focus on vehicle-handling skills when they teach their kids to drive, but these other safe driving practices may be equally, if not more, important to accident avoidance.

If you have questions about your legal rights after a serious accident caused by another driver in southern California, an experienced personal injury lawyer in Santa Barbara can help. Contact Andrade Law Offices today.