West Palm Beach Traffic Safety: Parents Vital in Keeping our Teen Drivers Safe

The number of teen driver fatalities is on the rise and there may be only one way to help bring this number down — you!

According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA), parents are some of the most influential people in a young driver’s career behind the wheel. Researcher for Ford’s Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) program shows that teenage drivers mimic how their parents act behind the wheel. So you better be on your best behavior in the driver’s seat — for the safety of your newly-licensed driver.

Our West Palm Beach accident lawyers understand that traffic accidents are the number one cause of death for teens across the country. In 2010, there were over 3,000 teenage fatalities recorded in the country, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Their inexperience and their underestimation of roadway dangers make them extremely likely to get into an accident during their first few years behind the wheel.

“While state laws and educational programs are critical, ultimately, parents are the most critical component to keep their teen drivers safe,” said Jim Vella, President of Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services.

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. We’ve got some tips for you to get you started in helping your young driver on the road to safe driving habits.

-Take part in the driving process. Provide them with plenty of supervised driving time. Make sure they’re being exposed to all kinds of driving scenarios so they know what to do in these situations when you’re not in the car.

-Buckle your seat belt. Seat belts continue to be your number one defense against injury and death in the event of a car accident. When parents don’t buckle up, children aren’t likely to do so either.

-Watch your speed. Driving too fast is one of the top causes for teenage car accidents. If parents are speeding, children are likely to do so as well. Make sure you’re abiding by all posted speed limits and adjusting your driving to the current weather and traffic conditions. Speed continues to be a factor in about a third of all traffic accidents in the U.S. — and we can help to bring this number down by slowing it down a little.

-Put away the distractions. You never want to take/make phone calls in the driver’s seat. Driving needs 100 percent of your attention to help ensure a safe trip.

-Never tailgate. Following too closely to another vehicle only decreases your time to react to roadway dangers and increases your risks for an accident.

-Limit your passengers. The more passengers you have in your vehicle, the higher your risks are for an accident. According to recent studies, young drivers can easily be distracted by just one additional passenger, which can exponentially increase the risk of an accident.

Talk with your teen today and make sure they’re aware of the safe driving habits that are expected of them. Helping to shape their driving habits today will help to ensure a lifetime of safe travels.