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Crash Proof Your Teens: Safe Driving Techniques

Jun 6, 2008
Car crashes kill more teenagers every year in this nation than guns, drugs, alcohol, suicide, and violence combined. With those statistics it is no surprise that parents are apprehensive about handing their car keys over to their teenager.

Parents underrate their responsibility in assuring the driving safety of their children while fearing the worst. Most look to the driver education programs to teach their teens the rules of the road and how to handle an automobile.

Teenagers need at least 30 to 50 hours behind the wheel before they begin to understand the real dangers of the road and develop safe driving skills. In reality, our teenagers are only getting 1 to 6 hours behind the wheel of a car in driver's ed, in every state. That is barely enough time to understand the laws required to pass the driving test and handle the car in even the most basic traffic situations.

"Parents have the ultimate responsibility to ensure that their teenagers develop safe driving skills and behaviors," according to Timothy C. Smith, author of Crash Proof Your Kids, Make Your Teen a Safer, Smarter Driver. He also adds, "But too many, either underestimating their role or lacking effective methods, have failed to help equip their teen sto handle the single most dangerous thing they will ever do, at their most risky age."

Smith, a father of three teenagers, realized it was time to get involved in helping his own teens develop safe driving skills after a rash of fatal car crashes occurred in his neighborhood, all of which involved mistakes by teenage drivers. When he went looking for more information on the subject of safe driving, he found very little useful information available to parents and teen to take them well beyond just the basic driver's ed.

Smith was an award-winning author and trained race car driver, so he decided to do further research and created the Crashproof Plan, a step by step plan designed to significantly reduce teen car crashes. Following his blueprint to safe teenage driving will give your teenager the skills needed to survive on the roads today, and successfully deal with adverse driving situations.

Here are just a few tips that you can put toward saving your teens life:

Sit down with your teenager and discuss the process of learning to drive, and sign a Crashproof Contract that outlines the boundaries, establishing penalties and incentives for driving decisions and use of the car. Discuss all the issues and risks involved: speeding, road rage, drinking, drugs, distractions, cell phones, passengers, curfews, etc.

Your teen's participation in this process is the key to success. You must both agree to create a plan for your teen to safely assume the responsibility for use of a car. Remember, you're on their side but they need to understand driving is probably the single most dangerous thing they will ever do.

An important aspect of the plan is to be a positive role model for your children. They watch the way you drive every day, have seen your driving habits for a long time, and they will emulate them. You can't expect your teenagers to get into a vehicle and always fasten their seat belts if they don't see you doing the same thing.

Drive within the speed limit, use your turn signals, be a courteous driver and never use a cell phone while driving. Remember, your children are watching you, learning from your behavior and imitating you.

Communicating with your children is key to them becoming safer and smarter drivers. Don't criticize your teen, but emphasize on the measures needed for safe driving. Always remain calm while your teen is driving, and focus on constructive methods to focus on their driving more efficiently. You do not want your teens to stop listening, so make your time together and your lessons positive, with specific goals for each driving lesson.

Use simple exercises that reinforce step by step safe driving habits. Get them behind the wheel in every type of driving condition and help them with the specific hardships they will face in each situation. Practice driving in all types of weather, drive in the dark, in the city and on the highway.

Get started with these proactive strategies excerpted from the Crashproof Plan to help your teens be safer, smarter drivers. You will sleep better at night knowing that you did your part in giving your children the skills they need to return home safely every time they take a drive.
About the Author
For more teen crash proofing strategies from Timothy C. Smith catch his entire revealing interview with Randy Gilbert host of The Inside Success Show for FREE!
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