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When you’re a young, carefree teenager, you often don’t pay as much attention to safety precautions as you should. We’ve all been there. With driving in particular, teens are inexperienced and at-risk. As a parent, you can only hope that they’ll practice safe driving while they’re away from home. What you can do, however, in talk to them about safe driving. Here are some of the most important safety tips that you should emphasize with your teen driver.

Put Down the Phone

You might have noticed that your teenager’s cell phone seems to be literally glued to their hand. A cell phone is their connection to their friends and social lives, and they won’t go long without it. Distracted driving (either calling or texting) is incredibly dangerous. More than 10 percent of fatal accidents involving teenagers are caused by distracted driving.
Stress to your teen how important it is that they put their phone down until they’ve reached their destination. Assure them that a text can wait. If they really find it to be a problem, get them a hands-free tool that allows them to talk on the phone without taking their hands off the wheel.

Use Caution at Night

When the sun goes down, driving becomes more dangerous because your sight is limited. Teenagers need to understand that nighttime driving requires extra special caution. Nearly half of all teenage driving fatalities occur after the sun goes down.

Limit Passengers

The more passengers a teen driver has in a car, the more likely they are to get into an accident. With three passengers, a teen driver is four times more likely to crash. Passengers can cause distractions. It can be hard for a teen driver who is excited to be out with friends to concentrate with so much talking and activity in the car. In large groups, take more than one car rather than packing everyone in the backseat.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

It’s important to make sure your teen driver is properly equipped in case of an emergency; don’t leave it up to them to stock their car. Every driver, teenage or not, should have an emergency kit with items such as jumper cables, a flashlight, and a first-aid kit. If you have roadside assistance, make sure your teen carries the card in their vehicle.
It’s critical that you discuss with your teen what they should do in an emergency situation. Even in a minor fender bender, teens can be very flustered and unsure of what to do. Talk about proper procedures (such as calling the police, moving the car to safety, exchanging insurance information, and not admitting fault), so your teen will be prepared to act.

Check the Weather

Inclement weather can be very dangerous to drive in. Stress to your teen the importance of slowing down in bad weather. You may even consider having them go to driving school to learn how to handle things like hydroplaning or skidding. Finally, remind your teen how important it is to check the weather every day so that they’ll be informed about potential weather challenges.

Dan Smith is a father of four teens. He works for master’s touch as a driver.