BOISE – Every summer, a new batch of young drivers hits the road for the first time – but as a group, teens are over-represented in fatal crashes each year, to the tune of 2-3 times what would be expected based on their population size.
AAA offers these tips to help your teen enhance their driving skills and stay safe this summer:
- Take time to teach. If you’re riding with your teen (especially if you’re driving), quiz them along the way. What are other cars doing? What potential hazards exist? Who else is sharing the road (pedestrians, bicyclists)? Which vehicle has the right-of-way? Etc.
- Talk about speed. Explain that higher crash speeds increase the risk of serious injury or worse. Remind your teen that even during nice weather, it’s important to maintain a safe following distance and actively scan the road so that they have plenty of time to react in an emergency.
- Have your teen travel to the same destination by different routes to gain exposure to different driving conditions.
- Make sure seats and mirrors are adjusted before your teen hits the road.
- Remind young drivers that seat belt use is non-negotiable for everyone in the vehicle.
- Encourage teens to ditch the distractions and focus on driving.
“The combination of quality instruction and ongoing reinforcement establishes a really strong foundation for teen drivers,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “Think of your teen’s driver education like wet cement – you want to shape habits and provide the necessary support to keep them in the right place, and time is of the essence.”