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Resources for Safe Teen Drivers

September 10, 2009

I have several friends whose teenagers have just started driving.  Talk about moving into a whole new phase of life!  The basics of safe driving are pretty simple:  pay attention to the road, don’t text or talk on the cell phone, wear your seatbelt, insist everyone in your car wears their seatbelt, don’t speed, and don’t act like a show-off idiot behind the wheel.  Unfortunately, teens don’t always make the best choices (isn’t that what being a teen is all about?) and the lessons learned from a poor choice behind the wheel can be life-altering in the worst way.

If your teen is driving, or getting close to it, here are some resources you might find worthwhile: For teens, by teens, about teens.  This site includes video submissions by teens sharing their own distracted driving tips/stories.  There’s an online survey and road rules quiz to participate in, and a great resources link.  Many of the links have to do with Florida state driving laws/organizations, but a lot of info is general, too.  At the top of the main page, click on “Get in the Know,” then Life Lines.  The YouTube box contains a number of short videos, some better than others (much better; you might want to vet them first to weed out the corny ones).  Be sure your teen watches “Rear Passenger Seatbelt” which is a very graphic depiction of the damage an unbelted passenger can do to others in the vehicle.  If  you have a strong enough stomach (or just really want to put the fear of God into your teen) watch “Rear Passenger Seatbelt – second video,” too.  Be forwarned, though, this one’s a shocker.  My parents were sticklers about this one.  If you didn’t wear a seatbelt you didn’t ride in our car.  Period.  And as my dad always used to say, “A seatbelt is the cheapest life insurance you’ll ever buy.”

Here’s a great resource for parents from  It includes a driving lesson plan (“Start early, at age 14 or 15, by talking about safe passenger behaviors…”) a parent’s guide, a passenger’s ed page, plus tips and more links. Frankly, despite its name this is not the most inspiring website, but you or your teen may find something of interest among the links listed down the left side.

The National Safety Council’s Teen Driver site has a link for parents with a few helpful tips.  More interesting is the Reducing Risk section with links to pdf’s covering a variety of topics.

Also on the National Safety Council’s website is this section on Distracted Driving, which bears the sobering title, “Death by Cell Phone” across the top.  Watch the moving video, and then check out more videos at the bottom of the page, featuring apparent real-life accidents and near-misses by drivers talking on their cell phones.

And finally, (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety) includes some interesting stats and great articles for parents.

Teens are…well, teens.  They’re easily distracted, tend to think they’re invincible, and excited as all get out when they’re finally handed the keys to the car.  (To them it means freedom.  To us it means a car payment, insurance costs, annual licensing fees and pinching pennies so we can fill up the tank as needed.  Why can’t responsibility ever be fun?)   As parents, we need to do our best to ensure one of places they don’t push boundaries or make stupid mistakes is behind the wheel of a car.  Set limits – strict limits – and don’t hesitate to enforce them.  Just put on your big girl panties (or big boy undies) and do it.  The road can be an unforgiving teacher.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2009 5:33 pm

    Can you tell me who did your layout? I’ve been looking for one kind of like yours. Thank you.

  2. savvymomsafekids permalink*
    September 17, 2009 12:57 pm

    It’s the “Vigilance” theme layout on wordpress. Good luck!

  3. Bobby Israel permalink
    September 24, 2009 12:23 am

    I feel bad for the poor saps who have children who are driving…

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