Teen Driver Alert: Keep Your Teen Safe
Remember that little bundle of joy you brought home what seems like just a few short years ago? That little bundle is now a teenager and asking for your car keys. Where did the time go? And even more disconcerting, you now have an inexperienced driver who wants to take a several-ton vehicle out on the road.
As safe vehicle driving blogger Alex Perdikis explains, this time in a teen’s life is when real parental fear kicks in. What can you do to keep your teenager safe when driving and give yourself peace of mind? Fortunately a lot.
Here are a few ways to make sure your little angel is still an angel, even behind the wheel.
Nothing Says Adulting Like a Contract
If your child is old enough to drive, your child is old enough to learn about contracts. And a great place to start is the Parent-Teen Driving Agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The formal agreement outlines a variety of specific details, including promises to obey all laws including those regarding seatbelt use, speed limits, traffic lights and signs, alcohol and drug prohibitions, as well as payments for gas, maintenance and insurance.
Restrictions, many of them state restrictions, are also outlined with a focus on approved driving hours and weather conditions. Contract violation penalties are also outlined in detail. Sit down with your child and discuss the contract conditions. Make sure your teenager knows driving is a privilege, and that you will not hesitate to remove the privilege in the case of poor behavior behind the wheel.
Signing the Parent-Teen Driving Agreement is the first step toward making sure your teen realizes driving is not a game. And when violations happen, follow through on the penalties no matter how much your child pleads, explains or begs. The contract is worthless if you don’t stick to it.
Aftermarket Monitoring Systems: Your Eyes in the Sky
It’s not that you don’t trust your child, but you were a kid once too, right? You remember the lack of judgment, the “it can’t happen to me” attitude and the urge to defy parental authority.
The National Safety Council says that half of all teen drivers will be involved in some type of vehicle accident before they graduate from high school. Keeping track of your teen’s driving habits is not about a lack of trust, but about keeping your child safe behind the wheel.
Aftermarket monitoring systems allow you to monitor your child’s driving activity, including speeding and excessive braking, some sending a daily report card to your phone or email. Costs vary depending on device and service selections.
About Those New Cars
If you’re thinking about buying a new car for your teen, look for specific features, such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. Additional features to look for:
- Crash Notification: A telematics system with crash notifications, often a feature of ConnectedDrive, OnStar, Blue Link, Audi Connect and Ford SYNC Connect, triggers an alert when an airbag sensor activates. The help center immediately sends a first responder unit to the location and ensures assistance even if your teen cannot call for help.
- Forward Collision Warning with Automatic Emergency Braking: Forward collision warning systems typically alert a driver with a flash of light or audio warning tone that it’s time to brake. If the driver fails to brake, automatic emergency braking kicks in and stops the car.
- Rearview Cameras: By 2018, all new cars will have rearview cameras. Proven to be an invaluable tool to avoid accidents, rearview cameras are particularly helpful for new teen drivers.
Built-in Teen Driver Monitoring
A monitoring system may also be an important add-on to consider as your teen approaches driving age. Most of the major car manufacturers, including Chevy and Ford, offer built-in monitoring systems for teen drivers. The systems, protected by a password, allow parents to set up all kinds of restrictions and alerts when a teen violates a prescribed rule.
Your little angel may not be so little anymore, but using the safety options above, you can ensure that you take the necessary steps to protect your teenager behind the wheel.