Tips for parents to help protect teen drivers


(WTHR) — According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, car crashes are the top killer for teens in the U.S.

While the number of deaths has vastly declined in the last few decades, the rate is still alarming. In 2017 alone, 2,734 U.S. teens died in vehicle crashes.

One of the ways parents can ensure their teen's safety on the road is by leading by example. There are a few practices that are especially important when it comes to making sure you're setting a good example for children:

  • Buckle up
  • Put down the phone
  • Slow down
  • Don't drink and drive

Another way to improve safety is to have your teen practice purposeful driving. Avoid joyriding and only hit the road when there are specific plans in place. Both parents and teens should know some specific details about the teen's trip:

  • Where they're going
  • How to get there
  • When they will go and return home
  • What car they're driving
  • How to contact someone
  • A backup plan if anything goes wrong

If a teen driver is unable to know these details, go over them before getting behind the wheel.

Lastly, the type of car teens drive can have a big impact on their safety. Consumer Reports suggests the the best vehicles for keeping teens safe are one that have features including forward-collision warning and emergency automatic emergency braking.

For new drivers, it's best to avoid large, heavy vehicles. In addition to most drivers needing more experience to handle them, they contain lots of room for passengers, which can be a distraction. It's also best to avoid sports cars, as that may encourage speeding.