Every day, about six teens aged between 16 and 19 die in car accidents. More are injured; sometimes with life altering injuries. It’s vital for parents and caregivers to talk to teens about driving safely. Even after the driving training classes are over, parents need to remind teens about road safety. But how can parents talk to teens about driving safely without coming off as nags? Here are some tips:
The Conversation Doesn’t Have to Be Direct
What this means is that teens – like most kids – are very observant. Even when you think your teen isn’t listening, they probably are (as long as they don’t actually have ear buds in place!). While you’re driving the car, take advantage of opportunities to comment about your own driving. Did you almost run a red light? Say something like, “Wow, I wasn’t paying attention and I almost drove into the intersection! It really does only take a second to make a mistake!” Or you could say, “Man, it feels so slow going only 25 down this street, but I guess it’s worth it since there are so many little kids running around.” Saying things like that let your teen know you don’t think you’re perfect, and they’ll be more likely to relate to what you have to say.
Don’t Get Emotional
If you have a tendency to speak in an excited tone or a loud voice, be very careful of doing that while talking about driving safely with your teen. As soon as you get emotional, teens tend to block you out. Whenever you have something to comment on about their driving, try to use an even tone that doesn’t sound accusatory. It should sound more like an objective comment instead of an insult on their driving skills.
Bring it up Over Dinner
If your teen thinks you’re going to comment about their driving every time you get in the car, they won’t want to drive with you at all. Take the opportunity at other times of the day to discuss safe driving tips. This might be while watching TV (during a commercial), at supper or just sitting in the backyard. You could say something like, “I wanted to talk to you about your not wearing a seat belt. Here’s what could happen.” If they object and give excuses, try to have a calm conversation about it with a positive resolution. Don’t let it turn into an argument.
When you take the time to talk to your teens about driving safely, it shows your kids that you care. Your experience can really help your teens to be safer drivers for the entire rest of their lives. For more information about teen driving safety, contact a car accident attorney.