When a child enters their high school years, their parents aren’t just concerned once they reach the age to get a driver’s license. They also worry about when their kid’s friends are going to get their licenses. Teens are already inexperienced drivers when it comes to driving by themselves. If they have a passenger around the same age as them, then it could be a recipe for disaster.
A recent national poll reveals that nearly 3 out of 5 parents believe their child has been in a car with a distracted teen driver. Many students start carpooling once they get their licenses to make going to school easier for everyone, but having another teen as a passenger can prove very distracting. As you teach your child proper road etiquette for when they get behind the wheel, you’ll also need to give them the following tips to keep them safe when another teen is taking them somewhere.
Keep the music down
Many teen drivers like to turn up the radio’s volume to absurd levels if they have a favorite song playing or they want to show off their sound system. Studies show that playing louder music can negatively affect a driver’s concentration. Encourage your child to keep the music down at a lower level, so whoever is driving them can stay focused on the road and be able to listen to their warnings or potential sirens.
Offer to do phone-related tasks
Phones are still one of the primary forms of distractions for teens. Even though Illinois has passed strict laws to prevent this, many students can still get distracted if they get a call or text message. You should tell your child that they should volunteer to check the driver’s phone to make sure the driver isn’t tempted to take one hand off the wheel. If both are confused on where to go, have your child keep an eye on the phone’s GPS so the driver doesn’t have to look down at the map every couple of seconds.
Know when to speak up
Even if your child isn’t the one driving, they should still keep an eye on the driver’s behavior on the road. You need to tell them that they should feel free to speak up if they feel unsafe in the vehicle. They can still warn the driver to slow down or drop them off somewhere so you can pick them up. Even if they don’t want to offend their friend on their driving abilities, they need to prioritize safety for both parties in this scenario. Sometimes, simply having a passenger can be distracting enough for a teen driver.
As more Illinois teen drivers start driving to school in the fall, you need to be aware of what legal options are available in the event your child is hurt in a motor vehicle accident.