teen getting car keysThis week is national teen driver safety week so we wanted to highlight a topic that is always relevant: teen drivers.  Driving is a privilege that gives us freedom! It allows us to come and go of our own accord, without having to rely on someone’s schedule. It enables us to transport family and friends to events and is our way of getting to school and work. For teens, starting driver’s education and obtaining a license is a right of passage. It signals the start of transition from being a child to becoming a more independent adult. It can also be dangerous. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of adolescent death world wide, so this week is dedicated to helping us keep our teens safe on the roads.

Now I remember receiving my driver’s permit at the ripe old age of 14. I grew up in Alaska where the weather was rough and teens historically helped out with multiple tasks so we were allowed to drive early. Looking back, I’m amazed my parents allowed me to steer what is essentially a 2,000lb piece of metal on slick icy winter roads! As a teen I felt that nothing bad would ever happen to me; I wanted to show off my driving skills to my friends, and when I finally received my license at 16 I had a rude awakening. While driving with friends in my mom’s minivan, I spun out on a 6 lane road. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but I recognized that the amazing freedom that came with driving wasn’t without risk.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has 5 tips for helping to keep teens safe. These aren’t elaborate or complicated, but for teens they may be challenging to follow, so the NHTSA is asking parents to help reinforce the message. Here are their 5 to Drive:

  1. No cell phones while driving
  2. No extra passengers
  3. No speeding
  4. No alcohol
  5. No driving or riding without a seat belt

For more tips on driving safety, see our previous posts:

Teens and Carpooling

The Greatest Risk

Driving Dangers

Texting and Driving