A New Car for Christmas: How To Keep Your Teen Safe

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Many teenagers have a new set of wheels on their holiday lists this year, and there’s nothing greater than wanting the best for your high school teen. But before you new driver does any actual driving, he or she should some basic rules of the road. Keeping these defensive driving rules in mind may mean the difference between no driving and driving for many more years to come.

Ensure your teen knows to:

  • Keep eyes moving to view all surroundings; tunnel vision prevents a driver from seeing another object or vehicle in the way
  • Anticipate problems on the road. See construction ahead? Be aware of detours and other road conditions. Red lights flashing your way? That means an incident lies ahead.
  • Have a backup plan. When spoting something that could pose conflict, have a plan for reroute, slowing down or calling for help.
  • Decide smartly. When probable conflicts lie on the road determine what needs to be done to avoid the danger.

As a defensive driver, our teens need to focus all of their attention on driving, a task challenging at best during this era of social media and constant distractions. When a teen’s eyes focus on anything other than the road, he or she could be headed for danger. Here are a few “no’s” when it comes to driving:

  • No eating or drinking in the car.
  • No wearing headsets or listening to loud music.
  • No talking, texting, reading or sending on the cell.

While driving, a few other thoughts to keep in mind include:

  • Look ahead. Anticipate what’s on the road ahead so there is time to react.
  • Share the road. When bicyclists are on the road, give at least three feet of distance for safe passing. Watch for motorcycles, who are often hard to see.
  • Watch for pedestrians. Drivers should be aware of pedestrians at all times, in crosswalks and along the road.
  • Keep a distance form the vehicle in front. Typically a vehicle should ride 3 to 6 second behind the vehicle in front. When it’s dark, raining or icy, shoot for at least 6 seconds.
  • Drive at a proper speed. This means to drive within standard abilities, within the capabilities of the vehicle, and according to traffic and weather.
  • Knowing when to slow down at curves, intersections, downhill and heavy traffic.

Keeping our teen safe is primary when we decide to gift them with a new vehicle. Enlisting in a driver education class and practicing the rules of the road yourself will set better examples so your teen is driving throughout their high school years and beyond.

If your teen has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, or you know someone who has, the support of a Manhattan law firm will confidentially help you with your case.