Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

Parents can take steps to prevent teen crashes

New drivers are at a higher risk of being involved in a fatal collision, but parents can help reduce that risk. While parents may believe that the education their children receive before getting their license is enough, the reality is that they have a continuous job to keep their teenagers safe.

There are many ways to help your teen stay safe when behind the wheel. Here are three to make sure you follow through on.

1. Create a parent-teen driving contract

A parent-teen driving contract is something few people use but more should implement. This contract is one that discusses what the parent expects when the teen's driving. The agreement is a good way to start a conversation about driving safely. It should set clear expectations and limits on the young driver as well as highlighting the consequences of breaking rules.

The contract can, and should, change as your teen gets older and becomes a better driver with more experience.

2. Talk about the eight danger zones

There are certain factors that make driving more dangerous for a new driver. These include being inexperienced, having teenage passengers, not wearing a seat belt, being impaired behind the wheel, being reckless, driving when tired, being distracted and driving at night. As a parent, you need to sit down and talk about each of these risk factors, so your teen understands why they need to focus on the road and why they should be more cautious when driving during more dangerous times of the day.

3. Encourage the three-step graduated licensing program

Sometimes, those who wait to get their license when they're older don't have to go through as many classes or steps to obtain a license. Parents should encourage children to learn to drive when younger, so they're forced to go through all three of the graduated licensing program steps. That means that your teen will have to have a learner's permit and provisional license before moving on to an unrestricted license.

Although the program is restrictive at first, it's better for people to go through as much training as possible before being allowed on the road with unrestricted access. This helps prevent life-altering collisions that could have otherwise been avoided.

As a parent, it's your responsibility explain the dangers and hazards all around your kids. Take the time to discuss driving safety, so they won't make dangerous or fatal mistakes when they get on the roads in Houston.

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