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Helping Your Teen Be a Safe and Responsible Driver in Illinois

Posted on in Car Accident

Arlington Heights car accident attorney teen driver

The mere thought of your teenager experiencing a car accident or injury can be incredibly overwhelming, especially as you watch him or her venture out onto the open road as a new driver for the first time. Statistically speaking, the number of teen drivers has declined significantly over the past 30 years. According to a 2016 study, almost half of all 16-year-olds were licensed drivers back in 1983, but less than a quarter of teens had their license at this age in 2016. The increasing cost of insurance and fuel, paired with increased access to public transit systems and rideshare programs, are all believed to be at least partially responsible for this change. Yet, most teens do eventually get their license. In fact, almost two thirds of all 19-year-olds were documented as having their license in 2016. What do these trends mean for parents, and how can you help to ensure your teen is a safe and responsible driver, regardless of age? Below are a few tips for both parents and their kids when experiencing this milestone:

Set an Example

It is true that children tend to mimic their parents, even as they get older. Teens are also likely to ignore advice when their parents’ actions are contrary to their words. In short, one of the best ways to help your teen be a safe and responsible driver is to practice what you preach. Do not use your cell phone while driving, and avoid all other distractions like applying makeup or eating behind the wheel. Obey traffic laws and resist the urge to speed or act aggressively toward other drivers. Not only will you reduce your own risk of experiencing an accident, but you will also show your teen that driver safety really is the number one priority. 

Illustrate the Risks

When a teen envisions driving, he or she may not fully understand the reality of operating a vehicle. Although cars are great at getting us from one place to another, they are also extremely dangerous. In the hands of an unskilled, irresponsible, or aggressive driver, a vehicle is similar to a weapon, since it is a large, heavy object hurling down the highway at a high rate of speed. Your teen needs to understand this, and he or she should know that it is not just his or her own life at stake. Talk to your teen about what might happen if an accident occurs and someone is seriously injured or killed. Discuss the statistics on the number of teens who have died because of speeding and distracted driving. Emphasize the power behind the engine of his or her vehicle. It may feel as if you are using scare tactics, but what you really need your teen to understand is the responsibility that is resting in his or her hands when getting behind the wheel of a car. 

Create Rules and Enforce Them 

Your teenager should have some ground rules and clear consequences that encourage safe driving. Take away his or her driving privileges for behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, or having too many passengers in the car. You can also enforce a curfew or set limits on driving after a certain time at night. Not only does this show your teen that you are serious about driver safety, but it demonstrates that driving should only be allowed when he or she is acting responsibly. 

Contact a Palatine Car Accident Lawyer

Even when you teach your teen safe and responsible driving habits, accidents can and do happen because of negligent motorists. If your child has been involved in a motor vehicle collision, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel. Ensure that your minor’s rights are protected and increase the chances of receiving the full and fair compensation your family deserves by contacting a competent and qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorney. Call Newland & Newland LLP today at 847-797-8000 to schedule a free phone consultation. 

Sources:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/safety/Pages/Behind-the-Wheel-Helping-Teens-Become-Safe-Drivers.aspx

https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/pdf_publications/dsd_a217.pdf

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