Teen Drivers and What Parents Need to Know

teentalkingdrivingDid you know 56% of teens admit to talking on the phone while driving?

Did you know 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age?

“Can I drive?” may not be a phrase you are ready to hear when your teenager is old enough to get his or her driver’s permit. In fact, it may be difficult to come to terms with the fact that your child who was once buckled up in a car seat is now old enough to be behind the wheel. The reality is that your baby is no longer a baby anymore and is suddenly tasked with the big responsibility of being a driver, all while you are thrown from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s seat.

Learning how to adjust to this rite of passage is simultaneously exciting and scary for both of you. In order for a teen to successfully and safely learn how to drive, parents have to let go of the wheel and practice patience, trust and cooperation, according to Kim Estes, child safety expert and founder of Savvy Parents Safe Kids.

“Driving is one of the biggest risks and leaps parents encounter with teens and also requires the biggest amount of trust from parents,” she says. “Collaboration, communication and taking the criticism down about 10 notches can help the parent-teen relationship during this time.”

Prepping Your Child and Yourself

It is likely your teen has access to a driver’s education course within the community or at school. However, driving is a hands-on activity and your child needs your guidance. Before backing out of the driveway, have a discussion with your teen about her concerns about driving, recommends Estes.

“When my daughter began driving, we talked ahead of time about what made her nervous, such as certain intersections or my tone when instructing her,” she says. “Once we were clear about fears and expectations ahead of time, it took some of the edge off for both of us.”

A review of the rules of the road may also help both of you prepare for daily cruises through the neighborhood. According to the All State Foundation, parents should begin talking about safe driving well before a teen applies for a driver’s permit. “Parents should begin a conversation by the junior high years and maintain an ongoing dialogue,” suggest the experts at All State. “Tee it up as a discussion, not a lecture.”

While reviewing your state’s road rules, such as speed limits, intersection protocols and phone usage guidelines, you have the opportunity to sharpen your own driving knowledge and educate your teen. Talk to your teen about driving situations while you are experiencing them, says Estes. “As you are about to change lanes, talk to your teen about the three things you should do before changing lanes,” she says.

Set an Example

Whether you realize it or not, your teen is watching your every move. Set the example as a safe driver to not only educate your child but also improve your own driving abilities. “Don’t do things while driving that you don’t want your children to do, such as texting, driving aggressive or running yellow lights,” says Estes.

It may also help your teen learn if you encourage him or her to observe, offer suggestions and ask questions about your driving. Don’t be defensive during the process, though, advises Estes. “If your driving relationship with each other has more of a collaborative feel to it, the more likely your teen is to follow your lead, ask questions and hopefully take less driving risks,” she says.

Stay Calm

Even though driving with your teen may make you nervous or anxious, it’s important to calm your own emotions so you don’t inadvertently transfer those feelings to your child while she’s driving.

“Take a stress ball with you if you think you are going to be stressed,” suggests Estes. “Holding on to your seat or the dashboard with a death grip does nothing to instill calm or confidence in your teen driver.”

Keep criticism to a minimum, too. Instead of shouting “you are going too fast,” ask your teen open-ended questions, such as “Can you tell me what the posted speed limit is in this area?” A sharp or sarcastic tone may belittle your teen, who is most likely doing her best to obey the law and improve her skills.

If nervousness takes over, Estes suggests asking a trusted friend or family member to take your teen driving at first. “This helped me ease up a little since I knew it was not her actual first time behind the wheel,” she says.

If you are concerned about your teen’s ability to navigate complex intersections or highways while driving, take it slow. Take the road less traveled the first few times to help calm both of you.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.


Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: No Text is Worth Dying Over

 AT&T recently launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the risks of texting and driving and remind all wireless consumers, especially youth, that text messages can – and should – wait until after driving. AT&T Kicks Off Don’t Text and Drive Campaign.
The national campaign features true stories and the text message that was sent or received before someone’s life was altered, or even ended,because of texting and driving.

Stop what you’re doing. Take out your wireless device. Read out loud the last text message you received. Would reading or responding to that text message while driving be worth causing a serious accident? When you look at it that way, there’s no text that couldn’t wait.

AT&T* has recently launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the risks of texting and driving and remind all wireless consumers, especially youth, that text messages can – and should – wait until after driving.

The national campaign features true stories (watch video below) and the text message that was sent or received before someone’s life was altered, or even ended, because of texting and driving. By featuring real stories, the campaign will demonstrate how insignificant a text message is compared to the potentially dire consequences of reading or responding while driving.

For example, in one of the television spots, the text “Where u at?” flashes on the screen and a mother says, “This is the text my daughter was reading when she drove into oncoming traffic.” The ad also includes the message “No text is worth dying over” and the campaign’s tagline, “Txtng & Drivng … It Can Wait.”

“We explored several campaign concepts but we didn’t have our ‘aha!’ moment until we asked one of our focus groups to take out their devices and read the last text they received,” said Cathy Coughlin, senior executive vice president and global marketing officer for AT&T. “When we asked if that particular message was worth the potential risk of reading while driving at 65 mph, you could have heard a pin drop. That’s when we realized the message ‘it can wait’ was effective in educating consumers about the dangers of texting while driving.”

The new campaign will span print, radio, TV and online advertising – which will be rolled out in the coming months – as well as in-store signage, collateral and online billing. In addition, parents, high school educators and, most importantly, youth, can now visit AT&T’s online resource center www.att.com/txtngcanwait . The site includes downloadable information about texting while driving such as a parent-teen pledge; a teen-teen pledge; a poster; a brochure; safety tips; and more.

AT&T also has launched a Facebook application. Friends can share this application with one another to encourage each other to take the pledge to not text and drive. AT&T will also be promoting the pledge via a “twitition” on Twitter to ask followers to rally around the cause. You can follow @ShareATT on Twitter. In addition, to honor those taking the pledge, AT&T will contribute $250,000 to one or more non-profit organizations focused on youth safety and will announce the selected non-profit organization(s) at the start of National Youth Safety Month in May.

While our campaign is important for all drivers, we’re particularly focused on youth,” said Coughlin.

In September 2009, AT&T announced a commitment to raise awareness about the issue of texting and driving through a multifaceted initiative to educate employees, customers and the general public about using wireless devices safely while driving.

Since then, AT&T has revised its wireless and motor vehicle policies to more clearly and explicitly prohibit texting and driving, impacting its approximately 280,000 employees; incorporated a don’t-text-and-drive message on the plastic clings that protect handset screens on the majority of new devices sold in AT&T’s more than 2,200 stores; and will integrate campaign messaging in AT&T catalogs, in-store signage and collateral, bills, e-mails, newsletters and more.

Watch these impactful videos and think twice before you text or even read a text while driving.

Where u at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=se1_ybhkxeQ

Where r: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRB6v3wLZXY

Yeah t: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoLSqTkZ4XE

Yeah: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ_28KLT7LE

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Read more – click here.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff – Teenage Driving

bookcrashproofyourteensI am currently reading, “Crash-Proof Your Kids” and I am so impressed at all the information in one book! Of course, I cheated and moved forward in the book, and couldn’t believe how much valuable tips, statistics and advice is listed. As soon as I am done, I will place this book on my Books and Website blog. For now, I think this is such a critical topic for parents, I am posting an article from the author from the website, Crash Proof Your Kids. 
The Jekyll/Hyde Syndrome
As parents of teenagers we’re already painfully aware of their ability to change their personality overnight. Or sometimes in the course of half an hour, depending on the fluctuations of hormone flow and incredibly annoying things we do to trigger their bizarre behavioral changes. Well, recent research indicates that there really is a biological basis for this schizoid behavior.

Dr. Jay Giedd, chief of brain imaging in the child psychiatry branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, has spent over 14 years peering inside the heads of nearly 2,000 kids using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Giedd’s studies have shown that extensive structural changes occur in adolescent brains for many years, probably until about age 25. Remarkably, age 25 is exactly when the crash rates for adults flattens out and stays relatively similar throughout the rest of adulthood. It’s also the age at which you can first rent a car, demonstrating that the rental car companies, with cold, efficient clarity, have got it right.

As Claudia Wallis puts it in her 2004 Time magazine article, What Makes Teens Tick?: “Now that MRI studies have cracked open a window on the developing brain, other researches are looking at how the newly detected physiological changes might account for the adolescent behaviors so familiar to parents: emotional outbursts, reckless risk taking and rule breaking, and the impassioned pursuit of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Apparently, the prefrontal cortex—the part of the brain primarily responsible for dealing with impulses and the consequences of actions—is the last part of the brain to mature, and your teen will be out of college before it does. Much otherwise inexplicable teen behavior is now thought to be due to the lag in development between the rest of the brain and the part which helps them exercise judgment. Temple University psychologist Laurence Steinberg once said, in a quote especially well-suited for this book, “It’s like turning on the engine of a car without a skilled driver at the wheel.”

To summarize, a growing body of research has shown that the brains of adolescents undergo a dramatic increase in neural activity and synapse-building and pruning. Every day they really are getting smarter, but at the same time more confused, as their gray matter sparks like an overcharged battery. Do not under any circumstances make them aware of this emerging research. It’ll only give them an excuse:

“I couldn’t help it, Dad, I had a really intense synaptic explosion last night. No way would I have rolled your car unless that happened. The nerves made me do it.”

Adjust your mentoring style to the specific personality your teen appears to be inhabiting that day. And if sparks or smoke appear to be coming from the top of their heads, it may not be because they’re steamed at you. Their brains may be on fire.

Parents Univeral Resource Experts (Sue Scheff) – Teenage Drivers

teendriver.jpgBy Connect with Kids

Behind The Wheel

When kids get their license, it opens up a world of freedom, and a world of risks. More teens die driving than any other age group. While we can’t protect our teenagers from everything on the road, we have to at least try to protect them from themselves – young drivers are inexperienced, easily distracted and typically drive as if they are invincible.

Children won’t always listen to adults. That’s why our programs always feature real kids that your kids can relate to. In Behind the Wheel, teens share their true stories about driving and crashing – broken bones, broken trust, shattered dreams. Watch this compelling program as a family, and suddenly you won’t be talking at your kids… you’ll be talking with them.

With a team of experts, you’ll learn many ways that parents can help keep kids safe on the road. You’ll explore driving contracts, cell phone use and new technology that helps parents to keep tabs on their kids’ driving. Don’t miss this chance to see what real teen drivers are doing on the road…to show your own kids the incredible dangers… and to learn how you can help them be safe before it’s too late.