Talking with Teens About Safe Driving
Written By Stephanie Modkins
Talking to your teen about safe driving is almost as important as talking to him about safe sex. Why? It is estimated by the Center of Disease Control (CDC) that teen drivers cause 36 percent of the lethal car accidents a year. As a result, what and how you tell your teen about driving a car safely is a matter of life and death. Here are a few tips.
Make your talk memorable. You can do this in a variety of ways. You can link a special event such as dinner or a "safe driving" party together with your talk or give your teen a special gift. Just be sure that the day you talk to her about driving safe it is a memorable one. It will help her easily recall your talk in the future while she is driving on the road.
Talk to your teen in a meaningful tone. If you joke too much or don't use a serious tone, your teen may not think your discussion about safe driving is important. As a result, you need to talk to him in a way that gets and keeps his attention. He needs to know that if he drives recklessly, it may injure or even take another person's life. So be sure that by the end of your talk, he understands the old adage that driving is a privilege, not a right.
Use visuals as you talk to your teen. No, you don't have to pull out a flow chart, but it would be helpful to include a few pamphlets, Web sites or DVDs. These visuals should focus on safe driving tips or even the results of reckless driving. Visuals will add an extra impact to your words and drive home your message.
Don't use "high" jargon in the talk. High jargon words are terms that the average person (especially teen) cannot relate to or understand. So bring your language down to your teen's level. This way, your teen will understand exactly what you are saying when you tell them about the importance of driving safely.
Make your safe driving talk relevant. You can do this by bringing up current events that are on the minds of a lot of teens such as a recent celebrity car accident that resulted in jail time or even a local one in which your teen knew the driver. By making your talk one that your teen can relate to, it is more likely that he will pay attention and heed your advice.
Give facts and not fiction about safe driving. This may be hard for a few of you parents who use "creative" lies to control your teen's behavior. However, in this case, the truth is more powerful than fiction. So explain to your teen his increased risk of having a car accident and which scenarios he is most likely to have them in such as speeding, in-attention, drunk driving.
Don't give the talk at inappropriate times. If your teen is sick, sleepy or emotionally upset, don't try to talk to him about driving safely. Why? He will be too distracted and your words will fall on deaf ears. Opt to talk to your teen about safe driving when he's present and in the moment. It will guarantee that your words will be heard and be effectual.
Let your teen ask questions after your talk. Your talk about safe driving should be one open for questions. So, after (or throughout) your talk, let him ask questions. Answer them right away. If a question stumps you, let your teen know you don't know the answer, but promise to research the question and get back to him later. Then, remember to do it. You don't want to leave any stone unturned when it comes to talking to your teen about safe driving.
In conclusion, these tips are ones you can use to talk to your teen about safe driving. Use them and help your teen avoid being a statistic.