Oct 15, 201208:14 AMDaily News
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Is your teen a safe driver?
The car in front of you stops abruptly. Your tires squeal as you come to a complete stop just inches, maybe centimeters from their bumper. You have just successfully avoided an accident because you were being an alert, focused and responsive driver. Could your teen have avoided the same situation?
National Teen Driver Safety Week—October 16-22—aims to educate the young drivers of America about the dangers, responsibilities, and safety requirements that come along with the privilege of driving on our roadways.
Every year, nearly 3,500 teenagers ages 16-19 are killed on U.S. roads. “Ninety-eight percent of things that are called accidents … they can be prevented,” said Billy Crank, Michelin North America representative, in a promotional video for Tire Rack Street Survival, a non-profit teen driving program that teaches drivers the skills they need to stay safe in the car and ‘arrive alive.’
While the program focuses mostly on the education of teenage drivers, with the inclusion of a day-long in-and-out-of-classroom experience, the public is also benefiting from the program. “We’re working to make the roads safer for everyone,” said Bill Wade, the national program manager. “We encourage parents to come along to the school, sit in the classroom, experience what the students are experiencing in the classroom, and then they are able to observe their teens out on the driving course.” The course uses the student’s own car so they are able to learn how their specific car operates in certain situations.
Concerned parents are encouraged to send their teen to the driving school by visiting http://streetsurvival.org/ to find a nearby location. Parents can also suggest a school for target via the website. But if sending your teen to the school is not feasible, there are tips that can help him or her as a new driver, as Wade offers the S.A.F.E. technique to parents:
- Study the Basics: Teach your teen how to perform a quick maintenance check. They should know basics such as where their spare tire is located, what to do in emergency situations, the importance of a timely oil change and insuring that the tires are correctly inflated.
- Agree on Limits: Set limits on your teen’s driving, especially in high-risk situations, like riding with a driver that has less than a year of driving experience – the greater number of people in a car means a greater level of distraction.
- Form a Plan: Know when, where, and with whom your child is driving with at all times and know their intended route. Establish check-in times and points so you are aware of any plan changes.
- Establish a Backup: Make sure your teens have a code word they can use with responsible adults they can use when they feel uncomfortable. Perhaps they got themselves into a situation where another teen was drinking or driving recklessly. Safety should come first; you can ask questions about the details later.