Car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, claiming the lives of more than 2200 each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, driving or riding in a car is the number one threat to your teen's safety.
But you can play an important role in keeping your kids safer behind the wheel. State Farm® offers a variety of free tools and helpful resources, such as Road Trips® and Road Aware®, at the Teen Driver Safety website.
In addition, use these ideas to start the conversation with your teen about risky driving behaviors:
Sign an agreement
A teen who has completed a driver's education course knows the basics but lacks experience and doesn't necessarily understand the complexities of everyday driving. Set written guidelines that both you and your teen can refer to, and sign the agreement. Include goals for your teen, as well as penalties for violations. When each goal is achieved — such as remaining incident-free for six months after getting the license —offer positive feedback and increased driving privileges. You can download a parent/teen agreement through the Steer Clear® Driver Discount program, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this driving agreement as an example.
Be a good example
A teen will be quick to dismiss the driving rules you put in place if you don't follow the rules yourself. Never talk on the phone, text, use social media, or interact with your phone in any way while driving. Obey the speed limit and keep your emotions in check when you're behind the wheel.
With the encouragement and support of State Farm, Congress has declared the third week of October National Teen Driver Safety Week. Take time to focus on safe driving by getting your family, your teen's school, and your community involved with educating young drivers about safe driving practices. Since the declaration, thousands of communities across the United States have reinforced positive habits like driving 2N2®: 2 eyes on the road and 2 hands on the wheel.