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Is My Teen Ready to Drive?

“Better a thousand times careful than once dead.” -Proverb

Life is a wide open highway for any teenager preparing to get his or her driver’s license. Perhaps your sixteen year old has taken and proudly passed his driver’s education course, all of his friends are getting their driver’s licenses, and the law says that your child is ready to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. But is he?

Age is certainly not the only factor that should determine whether or not your teenager is ready to drive. The teen years are an extremely challenging time in almost every aspect of life, whether it be learning how to deal with emotional stress, academic stress, pressures from peers, or problems with parents. Adding the responsibility of maneuvering three thousand pounds of metal down crowded city streets and busy highways is a heavy load for any teenager’s shoulders.

As adults, we can look back and remember what it was like when we first started driving. Some of us were ready to hit the road with a heavy foot on the gas pedal. Others of us were more reserved, nervous, and reluctant to take the wheel. Every teenager is different. Not all will be ready to drive the moment they turn 16. As parents, it is our job to keep our children safe. An important way to do this for your teenager is to make yourself aware of your child’s driving ability and readiness as well as their emotional and mental readiness as it relates to driving. That little person who used to sing their ABC’s in the car seat behind you has now crawled his way up into the front seat, grown three to six feet, and taken control of the vehicle. It can be a frightening thought.

Teen driving statistics are even more frightening.

According to the CDC, nine teenagers, ages 16 to 19, died every day from motor vehicle injuries in 2008. In the same year, 350,000 teenagers were injured in car accidents badly enough to require emergency room care.

For more teen driving statistics, click here:

Remember how much care and caution you took when it was time to pick out your child’s car seat? Think back and remember how much time you spent just ensuring that he or she was strapped in correctly. The same amount of care, if not more, should be given to preparing your teenager to drive. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

These are interactive sites and relate to parents and teenagers alike. Take some time to look at these together with your child.

As a parent, only you can determine when your teenager is ready to drive safely. You know your child best, and even though he or she may think they are ready, remember that your child’s safety should always come first, however unpopular that might appear to your teenager. We can lower teen driving statistics, and make our roads a safer place. Please do your part to ensure that your teen is well prepared to hit the road, and make it back home, safe and sound.

This entry was posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents, Speeding.
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