Rotary hears tips to imrpove teen drivers

Published 4:47 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens in the United States, and 27 percent of all crashes involve the use of cell phones. Being distracted from driving, even 5 seconds, is equal to traveling the length of a football field blindfolded, according to information presented by State Farm Agent, Melinda Taylor at the Rotary Club this week.

Teens are at higher risk of accidents, first of all due to their lack of driving experience. Other factors are risky teen behavior, having less control of the vehicle, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and not using seatbelts.

According to Taylor, only one in four teens say they actually use the seatbelt.

Email newsletter signup

So what is a parent to do to better prepare their newly licensed teen driver?

First off, Taylor said not to use the time in the car to discuss matters that may seem important to you but might upset the driver. Keep Calm at all times. When a scary situation occurs, pull off the road and discuss what happened, taking care to get the teen’s viewpoint.

Parents should set some rules for their teen drivers, including having no peer passengers in the car alone for the first year after licensure. The more teens in the car, the higher chance of a collision. It seems that 9 out of 10 teens have reported peer pressure to speed. Also, do not allow others who have been drinking alcohol or doing drugs to drive or ride in the car.

Avoid driving when fatigued. Teens often get less sleep than they need, and 3/4ths of teens have reported seeing others driving when tired.

Teach teens the 3 Second Rule, which equates to the proper space allowed between your vehicle and the one you are following.

Avoid high-risk conditions the first six months of licensure. Limit nighttime driving or driving in bad weather until the teen becomes a more experienced driver.

Basically, give the teen lots of supervision, and involve the teen in setting and keeping the rules of the road, and eliminate distractions.

Taylor told of an app NNID, available for smart phones that responds to a ring by saying “Not now, I’m driving.”

She concluded her presentation by saying, “Crashes are preventable.,” especially when you follow the rules.